Lov ya Bon!
Most everyone in Galveston County is familiar with the battle between county judge candidates and the termination of Bonnie Quiroga. But what do you really know about the leading lady? Likely not much.
Bonnie Rigsby Quiroga began working for Galveston County in 1984. A public servant for 32 years, she was loyal to the people and purpose of county government.
Democrats controlled the County for 150 years thus the 2010 election of a Republican county judge and smooth transition of power was guaranteed to be difficult. Bonnie provided office space and personnel to him, helped him navigate the complexities of the courthouse, filled gaps on the history of departments and personalities of officials. They became friends but then, she dared to disagree with some decisions (recording devices placed in inmate/attorney conference areas, illegal bid activity by staff of GOP official, illegal hiring of relatives by GOP commissioner, etc.) and urged him to change paths.
That did not go well. She chose to be a responsible civil servant and blew the whistle and she was terminated. Two weeks later her brother was fired from the county and then commissioners threatened to eliminate her sister’s position during budget workshops.
You see, the county judge has a problem. He is a bully. Bullies don’t want advice because they are never wrong. In order to distract critics, he lied, claiming she took too much time off from work (yet each year she forfeited vacation and sick leave). She worked nights and weekends but he said she didn’t do her job. He could not define her failures. Her personnel file contained no disciplinary action. When ordered by the judiciary to return to work, he locked her out of the office twice, ordered her arrested for trespass, denied telephone, computer and e-mail. She was not paid a single dime for two years.
I am not arguing Bonnie’s lawsuit, I think you deserve the truth. For two years you have been spoon fed political spin by the best lawyers tax money can buy. So here goes…
Bonnie Quiroga: community volunteer, property owner, taxpayer, daughter, mother, grandmother, sister to five brothers and sisters, aunt to seven, sister-in-law, cousin (of many) and friend to hundreds. Public servant (notable accomplishments included uncovering jail break that included plan to kill a Sheriff’s deputy, reported $400,000 theft of taxpayer funds, assisted in recovery of kidnapped child and arrest of his abductors, rescued terminated employees on the verge of retirement from loss of benefits, etc.). She rescues dogs, raises “Bonnie” rabbits and likes to fish with family and friends. She cared for a childhood friend dying of kidney disease for a year. She would give you the last dollar in her wallet, the shirt off her back, a frightful scowl when you are wrong and a healing hug if hurt. She laughs from the bottom of her gut and sings (loudly) out of tune.
So now you know the leading lady of 14-CV-1289. Thanks for your service – we love ya, Bon!
A quick Google search turns up this bizarre article from the Houston Press about the case (fair warning, the Houston Press is pretty much a goner now and always sensationalized anything they could about Republicans):
Embarrassing Emails Filed in Legal Battle Between Galveston County Commissioners and Judges
Galveston County Judge Mark Henry sure knows how to spice up dull legal dispute over the hiring and firing of court staff. Mix in some backroom sniping, a bit of rumor-mongering, and just a hint of public sex and you’ve got the awkward mess that’s now before the state’s First Court of Appeals.
“In a November 14, 2011 email, Ms. Quiroga criticizes the decision of one of the State District Judges to appoint Associate Judge Suzanne Schwab Radcliffe, saying of Radcliffe: ‘What I didn’t say at the interviews is that I don’t recommend appointing anyone who was having sex on a picnic table at one of the County Christmas parties.’ …In an earlier July 24, 2011 email, Ms. Quiroga described Radcliffe as ‘a selfish bit … [bitch].'”
We asked Radcliffe, who was an associate family court judge until last year, about that particular allegation. On Friday afternoon she told us via email, “I was never interviewed to be the AJ and of course never had sex in a park on a bench! I have no idea who she is talking about? I was appointed in 1997 and stayed the AJ until 2012 w/ no interview process. I know when Yarbrough took the Bench, they interviewed for the other AJ position.” We got another email from Radcliffe at 1:47 a.m. on Saturday: “I never interviewed for my position as an associate judge and I certainly never had sex in a park IF YOU REPRINT THAT THAT LIE I HAVE. TALJED TO AN ATTORNEY.”
And you thought that Harris County Republican politics were bizarro?