The County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas (CJCAT) received the prestigious Extension Partnership Award Jan. 10 from Texas Cooperative Extension, The Texas A&M University System.
“Our greatest partner is the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas,” said Dr. Ed Smith, Extension director. “This award goes to groups that are true partners with Extension, and historically, from day one, there’s no other group that’s been at the table like the CJCAT.”
Association President Gilbert Pargmann, DeWitt County commissioner, accepted the award on behalf of the Association.
“We have outstanding county agents in DeWitt County who are actively involved,” said Pargmann. “We are very proud of them.”
The funds that county courts dedicate for Extension education in their respective counties, primarily to support county agents, account for approximately 20 percent of Extension’s budget.
When it comes to Extension making broad county-related decisions, the size of Texas and its 254 counties make it difficult to effectively communicate with each commissioners court, especially when time is a factor, Smith said. That’s where the Association plays an especially vital role.
“With decisions that go across the board, the CJCAT gives us the opportunity to effectively visit with the county leadership,” Smith said. Because of the respect the individual counties have for the CJCAT, Extension in turn can depend on the endorsement of the Association.
For example, the impact of last year’s hurricanes left some counties with depleted resources and manpower. Extension talked with Association leaders about borrowing agents from unaffected counties to relieve other agents who were working 24/7.
“We needed to make that decision fast, and the CJCAT became the vocal endorsement for making that decision,” Smith said.
Along with supporting county agents, the Association is a long-time partner with Extension’s V.G. Young Institute of County Government.
“Just as judges and commissioners are partners with Extension in each county, the CJCAT and the Institute work cooperatively to provide education programs for the Association’s members,” said Richard O. Avery, director of the Institute. “These programs provide quality information relevant to county administration.”
The Association and the Institute work together on regional CJCAT conferences and the Annual V.G. Young Institute of County Government County Judges and Commissioners Continuing Education Conference & Educational Exposition.
During the last five years, attendance at the Institute’s annual conference by county judges and county commissioners totaled 2,200 with some 2,580 continuing education units awarded during 25,830 hours of training. This year’s conference will take place Feb. 21-23 in College Station.
The Institute and the Association also are currently working together on Commissioners Court Advanced Curriculum, formerly Curriculum 2000 Program, a 64-hour advanced certification program for judges and commissioners.
County Agents Receive Superior Service Awards
The County Judges and Commissioners Association congratulates the following county agents who recently received the Texas Cooperative Extension 2005 Superior Service Award. This annual award is the highest recognition extended within Texas Cooperative Extension to its personnel.
County Extension Agents (CEA)
Raymond Bader, natural resources, El Paso County
Bill Botard, agriculture and natural resources, Gillespie County
Sue Church, family and consumer sciences, Potter County
Bryan Davis, agriculture and natural resources, Hays County
Linda Lynch Evans, family and consumer sciences, Lubbock County
Travis Franke, agriculture and natural resources, Guadalupe County
Billy Kniffen, agriculture and natural resources, Menard County
Russell Kott, agriculture and natural resources, Edwards County
Jane Parker, family and consumer sciences, Burnet County
Marilyn Prause, former CEA