Nobody accused Judge Jodie Szymanski of barking up the wrong tree at Monday’s meeting of the Austin County Commissioners Court as county officials honored him for nearly 30 years of service to the City of Wallis and Austin County.
Szymanski was presented a plaque honoring him for 29 years of service, 25 of those as the municipal judge for Wallis.
“Many a day Jodie showed up at the jail and magistrated the jail for us and it was something that we had to have happen,” Sheriff Jack Brandes said as he presented the plaque to Szymanski.
“We want to thank you for your wisdom, knowledge and leadership, Judge Jodie Szymanski, a humble jurist who served the community with honor, integrity and compassion for 29 years,” Brandes read from the plaque.
“Thank you very much. It’s been a real pleasure working in Austin County, my favorite county,” Szymanski said. “The people here are great. I always loved the county fair.”
He then recounted a story that stuck out in his mind.
“A few years ago we were having a lot of dog problems in Wallis. I mean a bunch. We had a pit bull that attacked a lady and she had to get 40 stitches. We had to put it down,” he said. “Whenever I had a problem I had to check with (District Attorney) Travis (Koehn) to dot my I’s and cross my T’s. This lady violated the ordinance. She had 14 dogs instead of four, so we worked together a lot on that.
“Shortly after that, whenever I would call Travis, he’s up there and he checks all his phone calls, and I would say ‘Travis’ and he would bark at me,” he said, making barking noises. “You’re going to be the judge dog of Austin County.”
Koehn, in turn, praised Szymanski for his hard work.
“I just want to thank you for the years of service. You’ve always been a great servant, always been a great help to law enforcement. Like the sheriff said, we appreciate your work, you’ve been a great guy. We wish we had more like you,” he said.