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Commissioners Appoint Acting County Judge

Smith County Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday, July 19, 2016, to name Tyler Attorney and former City Councilman Nathaniel Moran as Acting Smith County Judge.

“I look forward to working with the current commissioners and continuing as a group to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money, to be transparent in our activities and to move this county forward with a vision for success,” Moran said.

Commissioners JoAnn Hampton, Jeff Warr, Terry Phillips and Cary Nix agreed that all of the people who volunteered to be candidates for acting county judge were good candidates and would have served the county well.

Moran will take the oath of office during a Commissioners Court meeting at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, July 22, 2016.

“It was an honor to be considered alongside so many other great individuals, all of whom are dedicated to serving this community,” Moran said. “Anyone of those men, including retired 12th Court of Appeals Justice Sam Griffith and former Commissioner David Stein, would have done a great job for this community, and I look forward to working with them in the future.”

Warr said they were not appointing someone as county judge for a full term. “This is not an election,” he said. “I am honored to get to do this. I take it very seriously.”

The interim County Judge will serve until the end of County Judge Joel Baker’s suspension, or until the end of his term in 2018.

“Several people stepped up, wanting to serve their community,” Warr said, adding that he heard from 11-12 people who were interested in the position. “I want to thank everyone who put their name forward to serve their community.”

Phillips said deciding on an acting county judge was one of the hardest and most important things he has had to do as a commissioner. “I applaud them for putting their name forward, knowing what the job entails,” he said.

Moran is experienced in municipal government and has worked on budgets, Nix said. “I’ve never heard a bad word about him in the community,” he added on why Moran was his top pick.

“We did receive top notch gentlemen who applied for the job,” Commissioner Hampton said.

She said she wanted a county judge who would represent all citizens of Smith County.

Moran is a partner in the Ramey & Flock, P.C. law firm in Tyler. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2002. He was elected three times to the Tyler City Council, serving from 2005-09, including as Mayor Pro Tem. He left his third term early to move to Houston so his child could receive specialized schooling. He returned to Tyler and rejoined Ramey & Flock in 2012.

He serves on the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Board, Whitehouse ISD Education Foundation, the Smith County Bar Association, Catalyst 100 Community Leadership Program, Cancer Foundation for Life, and is board president of The Discovery Science Place. He has been named a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, the Smith County Young Lawyer of the Year and received the W.C. Windsor Community Service Award from the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I appreciate the opportunity to step into this role and help you move forward in this county,” Moran told the commissioners.  “I know great things stand in the future for Smith County.”

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