MIDLAND COUNTY, Texas — There was a packed house for the Midland County Commissioner's court that was held on June 10.
A majority of the crowd showing up specifically to see how commissioners would handle an agenda item that aimed at appointing Richard Gillette as the acting/interim Midland County Sheriff.
Before any action was taken, commissioners allowed the public to voice their opinions.
More than a dozen people took the podium, and each one voiced support for Deputy Chief Rory McKinney to take over as acting sheriff.
However, once the speeches were through and comments from Commissioner Luis Sanchez had been stated in support of McKinney, a vote was held and the motion to appoint Gillette passed.
The motion was made by Commissioner Prude, seconded by Commissioner Donnelly, and also voter in favor for by Commissioner Ramsey.
County Judge Terry Johnson and Commissioner Luis Sanchez voted in opposition.
The final results drew the ire of the crowd, many of who left after making some less than flattering comments to the commissioners.
The disappointment in the decision even reaching the late Sheriff Gary Painter's family.
"Chief Deputy McKinney was his choice, he was his second in command and it was his choice that he run the sheriff's office if anything happened," said Jennifer Painter, the late sheriff's daughter.
Other comments made by residents included:
"I'm absolutely livid," said Melissa Morris.
"They sat up there in their high chairs and say we know better than you do even though they were elected," said Bill McNeil.
After the meeting Luis Sanchez also expressed frustration.
"The chief deputy should've remained there, and there shouldn't have been any argument about it, it should've just gotten done," said Sanchez.
Despite the outcry, Randy Prude, the commissioner who added the agenda item to appoint Gillette, stood by his decision.
"I understand their passion, but I've had far more people who I did not ask to come to court this morning that agree with the decision to let the voters decide in March," said Prude.
Prude has stated that he believes electing McKinney or the other candidate, Constable of precinct 1 David Criner, who both have intentions to run for election of sheriff in March would've offered the selected an unfair advantage.
Meanwhile Midland's newly appointed sheriff Richard Gillette will taks over the reigns.
Gillette comes into the position after serving as a felony investigator for the District Attorney's office, and previous to that served the Midland County Sheriff's office under Gary Painter before that.
He has stated that he will not run for re-election come March.