Gregg County commissioner resigns after complaints filed

GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas county commissioner has resigned. Officials in Gregg County confirmed that Precinct 3 Commissioner Bob Barbee resigned Monday night.

The District Attorney's Office is investigating two incidents concerning Barbee. The first is that he was reportedly using a county-owned ice machine at his own business. The D.A. also accuses Barbee of violating state law by using county employees to work at Kilgore baseball fields and other places without Commissioner's Court authorization.

We offered both County Judge Bill Stoudt and the D.A. Carl Dorrough a chance to comment about this case on camera, but both declined. Judge Stoudt referred KLTV to the D.A., who gave us the following statement:

Late last week this office received complaints from several county employees concerning alleged irregularities occurring within Precinct 3. These complaints followed on the heels of the tabling from the August 16th Commissioner's Court agenda of work performed by Precinct 3 at baseball fields in the City of Kilgore.

Monday after the Commissioner's Court adjourned, Commissioner Barbee met with Criminal District Attorney Carl Dorrough and First Assistant Janie Johnson to discuss the work performed earlier this month at the Kilgore baseball fields. In the meeting Commissioner Barbee indicated that he and Precinct 3 employees had also performed work on several dates at the same fields earlier this year.

State laws specific to Gregg County require that all road work must be budgeted by project prior to the performance of that work. The Commissioner's Court must approve a budget for all work done for another governmental entity prior to the performance of the work. Gregg County Road and Bridge precincts are prohibited from performing work that is not designated as "road and bridge" work. All commissioners and employees are well educated in this regard. For over two decades, this office has dedicated an attorney on staff to provide legal counsel and guidance on these matters.

The work performed at the baseball fields earlier this year was never submitted to the Commissioner's Court for approval. This work was not "road and bridge" work authorized by state law. Performing the work without court approval is a violation of the road and bridge law as well as county policy.

During the discussions with Commissioner Barbee, he confirmed that an ice machine belonging to Gregg County was located at his personal business on State Highway 42. Investigators from this office recovered the ice machine from a business known as Oil Patch Pipe and Supply. Commissioner Barbee indicated that the machine was being "borrowed".