Weatherford Democrat

February 16, 2014

MEET THE CANDIDATE: Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace candidate Jerry Hataway

Weatherford Democrat

— The WD recently sent questionnaires to the candidates in contested county races in the March 4 primary elections. The candidates were asked to provide background information and answers, in 300 words or less, to questions posed to them. Early voting begins Feb. 18. Today we look at the four Republican primary candidates for Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3. There is no Democratic opponent.

Name: Jerry L. Hataway

Age: 58

Occupation: retired police lieutenant.

Family: wife Susan Hataway; five children and seven grandchildren.

Educational background: bachelors in Business Administration from University of Texas at Arlington; graduate of Bill Blackwood’s Law Enforcement Leadership Command College–Sam Houston University.

Professional affiliations or memberships: Parker County Republican Party; associate of Bush Legacy Republican Women of Weatherford; licensed peace officer for the State of Texas; Institute for Law Enforcement Administration–Center for Law Enforcement Ethics.

Community involvement: current member of Parker County Cruisers. PCC is a family-oriented car club that enjoys going to car shows together, cruising and helping out those in need in our community. In 2013, PCC donated $9,000 to various charitable organizations in Parker County; 10 years experience as a volunteer fireman.

What will be your top three priorities if elected justice of the peace and what steps will you take to achieve those goals?

As an administrator, when opening a new office or starting a new job, it is very important to develop a strategic plan with both short and long term goals.

My first priority will be to ensure the office of justice of the peace continues to function during the transition to a new judge. I’ve seen many new administrators make hasty decisions that affect the overall internal politics, resulting in poor relationships and failure to meet their objectives. Prior to my appointment, I will take steps to understand my role and key responsibilities.

Understanding the role of each person working in the office, their responsibilities, and what is important to them, will be key to my success.

My second priority will be to establish my short-terms goals for the first four to six months serving in this office. These goals will include an overall department audit, inventory, and efficiency study. I’ll establish a positive working relationship with the internal professional staff and with all external leaders and will adjust my leadership style to ensure these relationships remain positive.

My long-term goal will be to establish an education element and to reach out to the community. The education process will include a mission and vision for best methods to inform the public and young adults of the overall process of our court system. Once a core curriculum has been developed, the information will be presented in classrooms and community meetings throughout the county.

Within the first year, we will start reaching out to the community by gathering information through subcommittees that will help the Court address problems and prepare to move into the future. These committees will outline future goals of the Court such as improving customer service, ensuring the overall quality of Justice being provided, and improving the infrastructure of the court.

How can court efficiency or other areas of court operations be improved and what are your plans to do so if elected?

I believe that the Texas Justice of the Peace Court is where justice starts and it was established to serve the people through efficient and accessible administration. As part of my strategic planning, I will develop the highest level of services to the public by being accountable, assessable, and responsible.

Improving the efficiency of any public organization includes: ensuring new technology is being used, having a customer service-oriented approach, and providing the highest level of accountability for public resources. When appointed to this position, I will ensure my court has the ability to reach sound decisions through the best available access to factual and legal information. I will insist that court procedures and structure best facilitate the speedy and cost-effective resolution of all cases. Our customer service approach will include: examining issues such as time required to process cases, providing more public information about court procedures, and increasing uniformity in procedures.

Whoever is elected to this office has to realize that this is not an eight-to-five job. Precinct Three is a very busy court. The demands for services are huge and growing, placing strains on the court’s ability to provide swift resolution of cases. Our new judge must have a strong work ethic to keep up with this demand. I will be available to address time restraints that affect not only our citizens, but attorneys, law enforcement and the professional staff. I will insist each of these stakeholders have access to my court and to the efficient justice that we are entitled to.

Why are you the best candidate for the position?

I do feel I am the best person for this office, not just because of my professional and personal experience, but also, more importantly, on my determination to succeed.

I have succeeded in every position in every job I have held and I have been recognized many times for my accomplishments, work ethic and enthusiasm.

I am more than confident that I would be welcomed to return to any organization I have worked for in the past. What separates me from many others is that I will not fail. I will do what ever it takes to make Precinct Three’s Justice of the Peace Court the model of achievement and effective court procedures.

In order to become successful in any task, I believe that you must first examine history and other models or institutions involved in that same task. An administrator must not attempt to “re-invent the wheel.” There are many current and past Judges who have excelled in their profession. We must build upon their successes and continue to strive to explore new opportunities.