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Judge Bob Carroll resigns county position

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ERIC CORNELISON
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WAXAHACHIE - Judge Bob Carroll stunned the Ellis County Commissioners' Court and members of the public on Monday, March 26, by announcing his resignation, effective at midnight on April 30.

'For over a decade, I have attempted to faithfully and honorably serve the citizens of Ellis County,' Carroll said to the commissioners.

'After prayerful consideration, I believe God is leading me back into the private sector.

'I also believe it is time for fresh leadership, so therefore, with the utmost humility, I am resigning the position of Judge for Ellis County Court-at-Law Number One.'

Carroll reminded the court this would only give them a month to select a new judge and how important it was for them to make the selection during the month of April since there was a heavy docket of CPS cases and lawsuits, so the selected judge needed to be there and ready.

'In 2006, we had five times more new CPS cases than we did the year I started,' said Carroll.

'And they are more complicated, this is why we are spending 60 percent of our time handling them.

'The person selected to be the new judge must be a person who is highly experienced in CPS cases and passionate about protecting children and families.'

Never one to take himself too seriously, Carroll tried to make light of the announcement by closing with a joke.

Carroll finished the joke with these lines, 'I take pride in my work and my signature on this card means I stand behind the work I did as Judge.

'If you were satisfied with my work, please tell a friend, if you were not, please wait and call the new judge on May 1.'

Shock still registered on the faces of community members throughout the courtroom, where an almost-capacity crowd had assembled to hear the court's proclamation of Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month.

Many, including members of the court, were overcome with emotion.

'I have never met anyone who did not believe they were not his (Carroll) best friend,' said Ellis County Judge Chad Adams.

Adams had to step away from the table to search for a tissue to dry his eyes, while Commissioner Ron Brown, Pct. 4, cleared his throat and broke the heavy silence.

'I wish you had told a better joke,' Brown said.

'Because I'm not happy right now, I've enjoyed working with you.

'You'll be missed in a lot of different areas.'

All present stood and answered Carroll's announcement with resounding applause, not once but twice, with Carroll and his wife, Kathy, leaving the courtroom before the business of the court could resume.

'He set a national standard for CPS and the awards he won were unparalleled,' said Adams.

Although the court turned its attention to the issues at hand, the somber mood created by Carroll's unwelcomed announcement was never lifted throughout the rest of the night.

Carroll was well known for his compassionate dedication to the families and especially the children involved in the CPS court cases and for his strong leadership.

His program of Early Intervention Services was twice recognized in the last few years for its exceptional results.

According to press releases, in 2005, Carroll was recognized by the Texas Association of Counties Leadership Foundation receiving a County Best Practices award for Exceptional Delivery of Service in the Health and Human Services Division.

In 2006, the program garnered national attention when the National Association of Counties chose Ellis County to receive the prestigious County Courthouse Award.

Adams said, 'Maybe we can hope he will run for public office in the future.'

Carroll has presided over Ellis County Court-at-Law Number One since November 1996 and has garnered the respect from everyone around him from associates to community members.

Carroll was a founding Director of Hope Clinic which serves the working poor and works with a number of other charitable organizations.

He and Kathy live in Midlothian along with their two children, Shane and Shelby, and are active members of Midlothian Bible Church.

The Carroll family plans to continue to live at their home in Ellis County and Carroll told the commissioners, 'And we plan to remain very involved in the community.

'Judge Adams, commissioners, to all my colleagues and friends in the community and the citizens of Ellis County, it has been a distinct honor and privilege to have served as your judge.'

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