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Williamson Sheriff-elect Chody says sheriff no help in transition

Williamson County Sheriff James Wilson said Thursday he isn’t feuding with his successor, Robert Chody, after the sheriff-elect accused Wilson of ignoring his pleas for help in making the transition into office.

On Thursday morning, Chody posted on Facebook that he had “emailed, called and have had fellow elected officials/leaders reach out to him (for the past 8 months) to try and facilitate a transition that would only be advantageous to the employees and county. Another example of leadership failure on his part.”

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Wilson said he has “no war with Robert Chody.”

Wilson said that to avoid disruption among employees, he hasn’t yet invited Chody to tour the sheriff’s office and meet staff members. Wilson said rumors have been spreading for months among employees about who Chody was going to fire, and that nine employees learned Wednesday they would be let go.

Chody later said Wilson could easily have addressed the rumors about who was going to be fired if Wilson had just asked Chody what his plans were.

The nine people he has fired, Chody said, include employees with the rank of chief, lieutenant and captain, plus two civilians. He said he hasn’t fired any deputies and that he doesn’t expect to make any more dismissals.

If Chody had toured the sheriff’s office earlier this year, Wilson said, then employees who met him would have been nervous about their jobs. He said an email he received from Chody in June sounded like Chody was already ready to “take over” as sheriff.

Wilson said he plans to meet with Chody to help him transition into the office, and that he had always planned to meet with him after Thanksgiving. Chody will be sworn in Jan. 1.

“I want him to be successful,” Wilson said.

In response to Wilson’s remarks, Chody said Thursday that the sheriff could have told him months ago that he didn’t want him to visit the sheriff’s office until after Thanksgiving. “That’s all that had to be said,” Chody said.

Chody said he left a message on Wilson’s cellphone Wednesday asking if Wilson could help educate him about the organization of the sheriff’s office and the issues it faces, but he never received a response from Wilson.

Wilson and Chody are both Republicans, however Wilson — who has held the office since 2004 — endorsed sheriff’s Lt. Mike Cowie in the GOP primary in March. Chody, the Precinct 1 constable since 2008, won 58 percent of the vote in a crowded five-person GOP primary race.

Chody, who became a millionaire when his wife won the lottery several years ago, invested more than half a million dollars in his campaign, far outspending his opponents. He also received numerous law enforcement endorsements and organized a “Police Lives Matter” march in Austin.

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