Smith's passing leaves Constable seat vacant

Elise Preston
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO TX - The future is unclear for a historically controversial Potter County elected office.

The Potter County Constable position from precinct four is currently vacant following the passing of Constable Leon "Bubba" Smith earlier this month.

As of yet, Potter County commissioners have not formally discussed what will happen with the now vacant position, but there are two options. The commissioner's court could appoint someone until Smith's term lapses in 2012. Commissioners also have the option of leaving the position vacant for the rest of the term.  If no one runs for the seat in the next election, it will stay vacant. By state law, if a constable position is left unfilled for seven consecutive years, it will disappear.

This is a position that was in the public eye with much debate several years ago.

"On the one side, you have proponents of the constable saying, they are doing the work no one else will do. On the other side, you have people saying that's just a question of getting folks in various law enforcement agencies to go ahead and pick that work up." said Potter County Attorney, Scott Brumley.

The Texas Attorney General authorizes commissioners to fill the office, but its not required, nor is there a deadline for the commissioner's court to make a decision.