SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff appointed former appeals court judge Marialyn Barnard as the Interim Precinct 3 County Commissioner on Tuesday.
She was immediately sworn in by Federal Judge Orlando Garcia and will serve in the interim position until Jan. 1, 2023, replacing former Pct. 3 Commissioner Trish DeBerry, who is running for Bexar County Judge.
Wolff said he received a total of 27 applications but that Barnard’s “stood above all.” In making his decision, Wolff said he considered the candidate’s civic involvement, whether they had served as an elected official, their private sector experience, and whether they understood county government and the judicial and criminal system. He also wanted someone with independence and leadership qualities who would be ready for the job, given the year’s first Commissioner’s Court meeting is scheduled for next week.
“When you looked at the contribution, you know, private sector business, court of appeals, school teacher, volunteer in the community -- when you put all those together, I mean, she just stood up high,” Wolff told reporters.
Barnard, a Republican, served on the Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals from 2009 to 2018 when she lost her re-election bid in the 2018 midterm elections.
She’s also a former teacher, social worker, and -- most recently -- an executive for a legal software company. Her resume also includes board positions with various organizations, including the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Child Advocates of San Antonio, and the Rotary Club of San Antonio.
Barnard said people in the community had urged her to apply for the appointment.
“I’ve been in public service, and that’s something I’ve always loved -- from school teachings, being a social worker, to being a judge and certainly this, and to do good for my home,” she said of her reasons for applying.
Barnard will remain in the interim position for the entire year until voters choose someone in November’s election to fill out the final two years of DeBerry’s term through 2024.
DeBerry, who has been the lone Republican commissioner on the county’s governing body, called Barnard’s appointment a “very wise choice.”
“She’s hugely accomplished. It gratifies me that she’s a female Republican, so there will be diversity on the court, in gender and partisanship,” DeBerry said. “And for me, personally, it means the campaign for county judge begins in earnest tomorrow.”
Less than one year into her four-year term as commissioner, DeBerry announced in December that she would be running for county judge in the upcoming election. Per state law, DeBerry had to resign to embark on the political campaign.
Because of the timing of the resignation, the Texas Secretary of State’s Office said Bexar County’s political parties will be able to make their own nominations for the office for November’s general election rather than have candidates file for March’s primary.
Barnard told reporters she would be “honored” if the Republican Party of Bexar County’s precinct chairs chose her as the nominee.
Precinct 3 covers the north side of Bexar County.
Also on KSAT.com