by BRAD ROLLINS
San Marcos Mercury
Hays County Judge Bert Cobb is taking a leave of absence from the county’s top administrative office to undergo major spinal surgery.
In an email to supporters, Cobb said he would undergo 11 hours of surgery at an Austin hospital over three days, starting Nov. 6.
“Many of you know of my constant severe pain every hour both day and night. I have sacrificed my health to serve you honorably during the past term of office,” Cobb wrote supporters over the weekend.
Cobb said he expects to be “out of the loop” for four to six weeks. The Hays County Commissioners Court was scheduled to consider a measure this morning authorizing Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe to act as county judge while Cobb is indisposed.
Ingalsbe said she knows county business must go on and will work to maintain the job as temporary judge.
“I look forward to helping in any way that I can to make sure that the business of the county continues in a positive way. We certainly are going to have the judge in our thoughts and prayers as he goes through this very serious back surgery and we really hope that everything goes well with him,” Ingalsbe said. “ We understand that the county business continues on, and we’ll do everything that we can as a court to make sure that the work gets done in his absence.”
“I am not resigning my office,” Cobb wrote in capitalized letters. ”I must undergo this surgery to preserve my ability to walk and to be able to run for a second term as your County Judge.”
I must beg your indulgence. Many of you know of my constant severe pain every hour both day and night. The pain has become unmanageable without further restorative and corrective surgery. Some will recall that I was in a wheel chair when I attended the first two debates during my campaign. My surgeons have advised that I have this surgery as soon as possible to preserve vital functions that are slowly worsening in addition to the pain. I have sacrificed my health to serve you honorably during the past term of office. I am honored to serve with men and women of such high moral character who want to do what is best for all of Hays County. The Court has accomplished a great deal and honored the Constitutions of the United States and Texas. The budget has been balanced and the year has been successfully charted and much has been fulfilled. As a sitting Judge who is under Judicial Review, I am unable to legally promote or endorse candidates of any party. However, once the Party has chosen its candidates, I have exercised MY First Amendment rights as a private citizen to VOTE for the candidates of MY CHOICE. Thanks to YOUR EFFORTS, the campaigns of Republican candidates have been placed on steady ground. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I will be under anesthesia when the vote returns are in.
On behalf of all candidates, I thank you for your donations and personal involvement in their campaigns. No one could win without the Precinct Chairs and the grass-root efforts of the faithful folks who send out e-mails, who talk to their neighbors and who walk the blocks and give their money to support good candidates. I humbly thank you for your allowing me to serve you as your County Judge.
On Election Day, November 6, I am entering Seton Hospital in Austin to undergo 11 hours of surgery over the following three days. The first day will be 4 hours of surgery through my abdomen with a vascular surgeon and a back surgeon with chisels and saws undoing the damage from the Staph infection I had during the campaign. After a day’s rest, the second day of surgery will be seven hours of surgery through my side followed by multiple levels of surgery from the back. I do not do this unadvisedly. There are THREE things one does not want inside one’s body: 1. room air 2. sunlight and 3. a surgeon. I must undergo this surgery to preserve my ability to walk and to be able to run for a second term as your County Judge. I will be “out of the loop” for four to six weeks recuperating and hope to return to full duty in January as we start the next budget deliberations. We have been working hard to get a lot of major issues put to rest prior to my surgery. ”Leaders” are easy to “spot”. They are the ones with the “arrows” and “knives” in their BACKS.
NO, I AM NOT RESIGNING MY OFFICE. My desire to keep you fully informed about Court issues requires me to notify you of coming events. I will announce this to the public at the next Court session next Tuesday. I have made provisions for my medical practice to be covered during my surgery and convalescence. Commissioner Ingalsbe and the other Commissioners will fulfill my ceremonial duties.
Despite intense pain, I have not missed a SINGLE Court session during my current term. In my absence, according to RULE, the gavel for Court sessions will pass to Commissioner Ingalsbe, the longest-serving, senior member of the Court. She has my full confidence in my absence. During my convalescence, I will stay FULLY ENGAGED with Court issues. By law, one must be IN COURT to cast a vote but my counsel and advice will still be available if they are necessary. My Chief of Staff, Mr. Lon Shell, has graciously consented to be the go-between during my convalescence. Important issues should be channeled through Mr. Shell who will convey them to me as I heal. My BACK is my weakness but my HEART and MY BRAIN are still functioning well.
Additional information added to story by Hays Free Press reporter Andy Sevilla.