Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly has appointed the county’s first woman to the commissioners’ court on Monday when he announced that Anne Overby will be sworn in October 23rd to represent citizens living in Kerr County Precinct 1. Overby will replace Harley David Belew, who was officially removed from office September 29 by a district court decision.
The appointment came on October 16, after a brief special session of the commissioners’ court, during which Judge Kelly, Commissioner (Pct. 2) Rich Paces, Commissioner (Pct. 3) Jonathon Letz and Commissioner (Pct. 4) Don Harris went immediately into executive session for discussion. By law, the county judge is solely responsible for appointing a replacement if an elected commissioner leaves a vacancy before their term is up.
Kelly clarified that Kerr County has no direct involvement in the quo warranto action that resulted in Belew’s removal from office. The court action was brought against Belew by the 198th District Attorney, and the basis of the claim stems from a 1973 felony conviction, to which Belew pleaded guilty and was then placed on 10 years of probation. Belew was 17 years old at the time of his conviction and successfully completed his probation.
Felony convictions carry certain disabilities, prohibiting convicted felons from voting, holding public office, serving on juries, etc. Belew, according to court documents, failed to disclose his felony conviction before running for public office and getting elected, which is considered a misdemeanor offense, but the investigation found that the new misdemeanor crimes were barred from the statute of limitations.
The 198th District Attorney Stephen Harpold decided to bring the quo warranto action to remove Belew from office. “Kerr County was not involved at all, other than as an observer,” Kelly said.
Visiting Judge Sid Harle, from San Antonio, ruled on September 29 that Belew be removed from office effective immediately. Belew filed a request to suspend enforcement of the Sept. 29 order pending his appeal to the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio. Following the Sept. 29 ruling, Belew was unable to continue his duties as commissioner until the trial court ruled on that request. Harle overruled Belew’s request and upheld his removal from office. Subsequently, Belew is unable to serve as the commissioner of Kerr County Precinct 1 while his case is on appeal.
Kerr County officials released a press release stating that district courts are superior to county courts and county commissioners’ courts are required to comply with district court orders. “As the Kerr County judge, I am powerless to do anything except comply and await the appellate court’s outcome,” Kelly said.
Anne Overby and her family have been residents of Kerr County for more than 30 years and has worked for both Congressman Lamar Smith and Congressman Chip Roy. During the past five years, Overby has handled Roy’s Academy nominations. Overby has been an active member with the Kerr County Historical Commission, and various other community organizations. “I hope to bring my work on the federal level and personal experiences to the commissioners’ court to help foster the same environment that my family and I have had for all of the young families in Kerr County today,” said Overby.
Overby is scheduled to be sworn in during a regularly scheduled Kerr County Commissioners’ Court meeting at 9 a.m. on Monday, October 23, at the Kerr County Courthouse. Overby has stated that she does intend to seek the Republican nomination for Kerr County Precinct 1 Commissioner in the upcoming March 2024 Primary Election. Belew released a statement on his Facebook page and to JAM Broadcasting stating that he has an appeal pending. “If i win, I will be reinstated as Commissioner Precinct 1,” said Belew.