Williamson County commissioners set cap, condition on law firm hire for county sheriff’s office

The Williamson County Courthouse is located at 710 S. Main St., Georgetown.
The Williamson County Courthouse is located at 710 S. Main St., Georgetown. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Williamson County Courthouse is located at 710 S. Main St., Georgetown. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Williamson County Commissioners Court approved the hiring of law firm Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, P.C. to provide legal representation to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 19.

The approval was made under two conditions: that the amount spent on the lawyer be capped at $25,000, and that the expense come out of the sheriff’s office budget. The conditions were put in place by Commissioners Valerie Covey and Cynthia Long, respectively.

The hire was primarily made for Sheila Gladstone, who will focus on workplace training and provide counsel on general employment law matters, said Commissioner Terry Cook.

Gladstone’s rate is $310 per hour.

“[Gladstone] is an expert in employment law,” Cook said. “We are having a great deal of issues with the various of levels of mangers, supervisors and others in the sheriff’s department as they’ve not really been trained in employment law in correct, appropriate, inappropriate [conduct].”


Several community members who spoke on the agenda item questioned why other attorneys in the county, such as Williamson County Attorney Dee Hobbs and his office, cannot be assigned to the task at no additional cost to the county. Commissioners said Gladstone has a specialty in workplace law and that it is not uncommon for the county to hire out for specialty counsel.

“We have a specific attorney that handles real estate transaction for the county; we have two specific attorneys that handle civil related stuff just for the county,” Gravell said. “This individual that we are bringing in is the No. 1-rated HR specialist attorney for law-enforcement personnel in Texas.”

Gravell added that with Gladstone’s ability to also provide workforce training, he felt it was the best move for the county, especially as opposed to doing nothing at all.

Community members also said they felt the issue lies with leadership at the sheriff’s office and that they feared that the move to hire the firm was only for perception.

Resident Neitha Engert said she was in favor of more training for the department but hoped that it would be taken seriously and not simply be a method to deceive the public that as elections near.

“I want our officers to take this seriously. I want the sheriff to take this seriously,” Engert said.

Others said that while they were in favor of the training, in the end, one cannot change what is in other people’s hearts; they indicated they place blame for the issues on WCSO Sheriff Robert Chody and his condoning of such behaviors.

Commissioner Russ Boles and Gravell came in swift defense of Chody, saying that as the manager of hundreds of people in his department, it took time to identify the issue and establish a plan to address it.

“We’re striving to go forward in the right direction,” Gravell said.
By Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.


MOST RECENT

Williamson County added 54 confirmed cases of the coronavirus Sept. 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Williamson County adds 54 confirmed cases of coronavirus Sept. 18

As of Sept. 18, eight patients are hospitalized, four are in intensive care units and seven are on a ventilator.

Black Sugar Caffe opened on the Georgetown Square on Sept. 19. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Black Sugar Caffe now open on the Georgetown Square, plus more business news

Stay up to date on Georgetown business news with these updates.

City Post is located at 113 E. Eighth St., Georgetown. (Courtesy City Post)
City Post to bring steakhouse, market, speakeasy to downtown Georgetown

The concept aims to pay tribute to the site's roots as a post office.

Pflugerville's testing location is operated from 8 a.m.-noon Monday through Saturday where a maximum of 300 people can be tested each day at the site. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Coronavirus testing site in Pflugerville to move and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Baylor Scott & White Health to host 9 Austin-area drive-thru flu shot clinics

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.

Williamson County added 35 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and two new deaths Sept. 17. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County adds 35 confirmed cases, 2 deaths to coronavirus count Sept. 17

Of the total cases reported, 8,187 are estimated to have recovered.

Austin City Limits Music Festival will present a free virtual broadcast from Oct. 9-11. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Free virtual broadcast of ACL Music Festival to be held Oct. 9-11 and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Georgetown and Williamson County saw 23% growth in residential sales dollars in August, data shows. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
DATA: Georgetown, Williamson County see 23% growth in residential sales dollars in August

Williamson County raked in more than $460 million in residential sales dollars in August.

Enrique Marin moved to the San Jose neighborhood in 1958 after he met and married Julia, who was raised there. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
City looks at options to protect two historic Georgetown neighborhoods

City staff and officials began discussing the development of small neighborhood plans in June as a way to slow gentrification in the TRG and San Jose neighborhoods.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Sept. 17 that data from Texas' 22 hospital regions will dictate when certain businesses can reopen at 75% capacity. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: Retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, gyms can reopen at 75% capacity as early as Sept. 21

Nursing home and long-term care facilities will also be allowed to reopen for visitation as early as Sept. 24.