Editor's note: This is the first of two candidate questionnaires to be published ahead of the first day of early voting on Feb. 20.
There are five candidates vying for two Runnels County positions which will be determined in the upcoming March Primary Election to be held Tuesday, March 6.
Three candidates will be on the ballot for the Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace position including Mike “Doc” Neeley, Lane Pinckney and Clay Bullock. Incumbent Glenda Wood did not file for re-election.
Two candidates will be on the March ballot for the Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 position including David Sellers and Buddy Jim Miller. Incumbent Richard Hamilton did not file for re-election.
Early voting will be from Feb. 20-March 2 at the Runnels County Elections Office at 600 Strong Ave.
The results from the election may determine the winner for each position since there were no Democratic challengers.
Name: Larry Michael "DOC" Neeley
Occupation: Retired from Ector County Adult Probation Department after 23 years, Also retired from the Odessa YMCA as the director for nine years.
Education: Bachelor of Science degree from North Texas State University, Graduate studies in Criminology from The University of Texas Permian Basin. Sam Houston State University 41 hours of continued education classes (street drugs, officer safety, working with sex offenders, Immigration laws, criminal justice management). Also attended many in-service classes as the director of the Odessa YMCA to wit: Fiscal Management and Budgeting. Financial Development, Management Module and Program Management / Development.
Family: Wife, Penny a paralegal in Ballinger for attorney Gene Clack. We have a total of five girls and six granddaughters. I am a very blessed person.
What do you feel qualifies you for justice of the peace Precinct 1?
My past 23 years of training and on the job experience as an Adult probation officer and Director of that department in Odessa Texas, Ector County.
Out of the 23 years of service I was the director for 18 of those years. I learned hiring practices , operated a $3 million dollar budget and was exposed to law suits ( How to avoid them and deal with them when they occur).
After I retired from Ector County I was employed as the director of the Odessa YMCA, with an annual budget of around $3 million and 110 employees. The above mentioned jobs have prepared me for all types of people and situations.
What are the most important issues you want to address if elected as a Runnels County Justice of the Peace of Precinct 1?
I understand people and have dealt with many, many situations that require an even handed conflict resolution. I have been in charge of office type situations and preparing State and County budgets for 23 years. I understand and have in my past worked with county judges, district judges, and commissioners court. During the nine years that I was the director of the Odessa YMCA, I dealt with many indigent situations where the parent needed day care in order to work, but needed to work to pay for daycare. My board of directors allowed me to scholarship many, many of these single parents, or, not only scholarship them but to allow the child to attend free until the parent could get on their feet. During the times that I was the director of the YMCA I saw and learned a lot about people and their needs. Before I became a probation officer I taught school and coached football and track and was assigned to be the athletic trainer. That is where I got the name "Doc" I taught at Permian High School and Bonham Junior High (in Odessa). So I have had experience with junior high and high school students as well and convicted criminals and indigent parents. I am prepared ......
I would like to get an Attorney General's opinion, on if a Justice of the Peace Court can order community service as a part of punishment rendered by the court. I do understand that fines and court cost help operate the county; but I would love to see some roads cleaned up that come into this city as well as some lots in the city.
What do you think you can bring to the position if elected?
I was in the Texas court system for 23 years, have arrested bank robbers and thugs and transported prisoners from all over the United States. Our success rate in Ector County, for probationers was 85%, which is very high because we were very tough and demanded that there were no violations. With that in my background, the most important issue that I bring to you, the voter, is that I believe in justice with mercy.