SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Smith County Judge Nathan Moran is calling upon Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson to either resign or to waive his taxpayer-funded salary and benefits before reporting to federal prison next week.
So far, Jackson has declined to do either.
"Constable Jackson and I have had a private conversation, and I was hoping that's where it would end, with a request by me to him, official to official, asking him for a resignation from his post," Moran said on Friday.
Convicted last month on four charges of willful failure to pay federal income tax, Jackson will begin serving a 6-month prison sentence in the Federal Correctional Institute in Seagoville sometime before 2 pm on Friday, Oct. 27.
Because there are no mechanisms to remove an elected county official from office, Jackson can choose to remain in his elected position and continue receiving his pay -- $27.29 per hour, or $56,767 per year, plus benefits – while behind bars.
"It saddens me that I had to make that request at all, and it saddens me that we're having to make this more of a public issue, but the public needs to have trust in its government," Moran said.
In a letter obtained by KLTV, Moran writes to Jackson in part about that conversation in the county judge's office on Oct. 17, and urges him to reconsider.
"Because of the totality of these facts, I again urge you resign effective immediately to allow another to serve until such time as the citizens of Precinct 1 can elect another Constable to represent them. That is the appropriate action in this instance," Moran wrote.
In the letter, Moran asks Jackson to reconsider.
"Although you are an independently elected official not subject to discipline or removal by the Commissioners Court, your actions reflect on the County as a whole," Moran wrote.
Reached by phone, Jackson declined to provide a comment for this story, and referred callers to his attorney.
Read the full letter below:
+Smith County constable to receive full pay while in prison
+Smith County Constable Henry Jackson to serve time for failing to pay federal income tax
+Community members ask for leniency ahead of sentencing hearing for Smith County constable
+Attorney for Smith County constable files petition to amend release conditions
+Smith County Constable guilty of federal tax violations