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!!
Cheryl E. Johnson, PCC Galveston County Tax Assessor-Collector