The Bastrop County Commissioners Court has appointed a temporary replacement for Judge Ronnie McDonald, who stepped down March 5 in order to make a run for higher office.
Jim Wither of Smithville was sworn in as Interim County Judge on Monday, March 27. Wither was Bastrop County Auditor for 15 years, before retiring at the end of 2002.
“I am very excited about it,” Wither said about his appointment. “It’s a supreme compliment. I think the biggest challenge is going to be the county budget after the decrease in assessed value because of the fire. I feel like I know the ins and outs of the courthouse. I feel familiar and qualified.”
Wither will serve for nine months until the newly-elected County Judge is sworn in, in January 2013. Wither said he has no plans to get back into county politics and does not intend to run for any office. “I just felt like I was in a position to help,” he said.
“After careful deliberation of the qualified individuals who have expressed interest in serving the citizens of Bastrop County, the Bastrop County Commissioners Court is pleased to announce that we have unanimously voted to appoint Jim Wither to serve as Bastrop County Judge” said Pct. 2 Commissioner Clara Beckett. “Jim brings to the Court an independent voice and a wealth of financial experience having served as the Bastrop County Auditor from 1987 to 2002. We feel strongly, Jim is uniquely qualified to provide leadership through a critically challenging year.”
Judge Wither has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in accounting from Texas A&I University. Before moving to Smithville in 1975, he had an accounting and real estate business in Steamboat Spring, Colorado and served as Mayor Pro Tem. He was self-employed, having an accounting business and real estate brokerage firm in Smithville.
He is involved in the community having served as a Little League coach, adult literacy tutor, Sunday school teacher and a school mentor. He also served as president of Bastrop County Board of Realtors and was Realtor of the Year, President of Smithville Chamber of Commerce, President of Smithville Noon Lions Club and Board Member of the Texas Association Board of County Auditors.
Judge Wither is currently an Elder at the Smithville First Christian Church, Vice President of Smithville Hospital Authority and has served Meals on Wheels every Tuesday for the last eight years.
Jim and his wife, Mary Ella, have been married for 50 years. They have three children, Cheryl Downs, Julie Gilbert and Winston Wither. They are the proud grandparents of Katie and Ashley Downs and Sawyer Gilbert.