Breckenridge Texan

County Commissioner Ed Russell will not seek re-election; homecoming bon fire canceled due to burn ban

County Commissioner Ed Russell will not seek re-election; homecoming bon fire canceled due to burn ban
October 18
07:46 2019

Precinct 1 County Commissioner Ed Russell announced on Monday that he will not be seeking reelection for a third term in the 2020 election.

Also during Monday’s County Commissioner Court commissioners left the county-wide burn ban in effect which means the bon fire for this year’s Breckenridge High School Homecoming game next week has been cancelled.

Ed Russell announcement

Russell, who was first elected in 2012, will have served two four-year terms as a county commissioner when his term ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

Before serving as county commissioner, he worked for nearly 30 years as a game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department before retiring. He then worked for a little over a year heading up a probation program for Stephens County before being elected as Precinct 1 County Commissioner.

During a phone interview with the Breckenridge Texan on Thursday, Russell said he hasn’t decided yet what he’s going to do after retirement. “My wife is retired, my kids are gone, so we haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet,” he said. “I’ll be 65 in April. I’m just done; I’m ready to retire for good.”

Russell said he wanted to announce his retirement early enough to allow anybody interested in running for the office enough time to plan their campaign. Those interested in running for his office must file as a candidate between Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, and Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in order to be on the ballot during the March 3, 2020, Primary Election. The applications to file should be turned in to either the Republican Party Chairman, Graham Reaugh, or the Democratic Party Chairman, Tommy Thompson.

Fire ban and Homecoming Bon Fire cancellation

Following a recommendation by Breckenridge Fire Chief Calvin Chaney, who said conditions in the area are still very dry, the commissioners chose to leave the current county-wide burn ban in effect. Chaney said they’ve already had multiple grass fires in the area recently.

“If you look at the Texas Forestry website, you can see where a county south of us lifted their burn ban for three days, (and) all they did was fight fires, Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “I’m just recommending we keep the burn ban until that time comes when it’s safe to do it.”

Chaney also recommended they not make an exception for the homecoming bon fire and that they cancel it this year because of the dry conditions at this time.

Roach said they looked at getting a controlled burn plan approved by Natural Resources Conservation  Service (NRCS) to allow the bon fire, but because a bon fire does not meet any of the four exceptions for burning during a burn ban, such as for agriculture purposes, they couldn’t approve it.

He also told Chaney that if the fire department felt comfortable, they could submit their own plan for handling the bon fire to Commissioners Court to consider an exception. Cheney said he didn’t recommend that option either because of the dry conditions.

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Photo cutline, top photo: Precinct 1 County Commissioner Ed Russell (right) speaks during Monday’s County Commissioners Court. Precinct 2 County Commissioner Mark McCullough is also pictured. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Oct. 19, 2019, to correct information about with whom candidates for the County Commissioners position need to file applications.

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