The desk in front of him was clean except for a green glass paperweight shaped much like a diamond and his glass nameplate.
“I work for the people of Bee County and I came into this office to help folks,” said DeWitt, who only a couple of days before was sworn in as commissioner of Precinct 2.
His first order of business is to request that the Texas Department of Public Safety look at the roads surrounding Pettus, Pawnee and Mineral.
“The first thing you look at is health and safety,” he said. “For the last few days and weeks... I have been observing what is going on.”
DeWitt opened his brown briefcase and pulled out a stack out of papers.
“We have some challenges out there in Pawnee, Pettus and Mineral,” he said placing the stack onto his desk.
The Eagle Ford Shale activity is placing a significant strain on the existing roadways and creating new problems because of the increase in traffic.
Pointing to one photo, DeWitt said he wants to ask the state to look at the roadways and see where improvements could be made.
He is also expected to ask the state to look at expanding the 35 mph zone in Pettus.
In Mineral, he wants more indicators letting drivers know of intersections.
In Pawnee, he wants to remind the state that school zone signs should be placed along the highway.
“This is a new school,” DeWitt said. “They might already have it in the works.”
DeWitt praised Road and Bridge Administrator Frank Montez, saying that he reviewed the list of roads on the county’s repair list for his precinct and said he only added one.
He also praised Montez for his work with the oil companies whose big trucks could, and have, damaged the county roadways.
“As a general rule, if they mess up the road, they want to fix it,” DeWitt said. “They want to be good neighbors.”
There is a change that could come to the court as a result of DeWitt’s being elected.
He is expected to ask the court to consider having one meeting per month at night.
“It is not just my decision,” he said.
There is a snag though. Meeting dates are set during the budget time and typically not changed.
“I am not sure they can be added,” he said.
DeWitt said that he isn’t wanting the change for himself but for those in his community who can’t make daytime meetings because of their work.
DeWitt, who recently retired as director of the Bee County Community Affairs Department after almost 10 years, spent a 31-year career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, advancing from assistant park manager, to park manager, to regional director then to the position of operations and maintenance section head for all state parks, natural areas and historic sites in the southern half of Texas.
In that position, DeWitt worked cooperatively with the staff of more than 50 state installations to plan, organize, direct and administer a $15 million budget.
Along the way, DeWitt became a commissioned/licensed master Texas peace officer, certified instructor and a graduate of the governor’s first line management training. He has held Class B water and Class C sewage operators licenses, a non-commercial pesticide license and completed OSHA environmental training. He is a certified code enforcement officer and is licensed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as a designated representative for septic system inspections.
DeWitt is a graduate of A.C. Jones High School, has a BA degree in government/economics from Texas A&M University-Kingsville and served six years in the Army Reserves as an E-5 battle tank recovery specialist/wheel and track mechanic.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.