GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis was suspended with pay starting Thursday, a month after he was charged with official oppression for allegedly impeding the county sheriff’s right to free speech.
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct said its decision was a result of the charge, a Class A misdemeanor, and would be in effect until further notice.
As county judge, Gattis, 76, has served as the chief executive of Williamson County since 2007.
Judge Gattis is accused of threatening to zero the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office budget if Sheriff Robert Chody continued to use Twitter.
The judge allegedly made the threat to Chief Deputy Tim Ryle on July 17 after the sheriff tweeted on July 13 that the demands of his department are growing not only due to population growth, “but were poorly maintained by past admin and other factors.”
Chody said at the time he was shocked by the threat. “For the CEO of this county to tell me to stop tweeting because he doesn’t like a negative comment — or what he perceives as a negative comment — is out of line, and against the law, as he said it.”