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Brown County Auditor's resignation comes after judge asks for it

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - District Judge Stephen Ellis says he asked for Brown County Auditor Nina Cox's resignation after conducting a six-month long investigation into her office.

Cox has resigned, effective May 31, in the wake of Ellis conducting the probe that started in December and concluded this week.

Ellis said he investigated matters concerning Cox's job performance – and that he has the power to remove the county auditor.

"I asked for her resignation as a result of this investigation," Ellis told KTXS. "Since she gave it, there was no need to take further action."

Ellis said there was no evidence of any crime or that she was guilty of any corrupt behavior.

Meanwhile, Ellis said he is in the process of appointing a new auditor. That appointment will become effective June 1 and will fill the remainder of the current term, which ends on Dec. 31.

Ellis said a public hearing will be held May 31, beginning at 3 p.m., concerning the salary for the next auditor.

Cox, who was initially appointed to the post in September 2001, will be on paid administrative leave until the end of the month, Ellis said.

She had been reappointed to the position by Ellis every two years since taking office.

Cox had previously served as assistant Brown County audit – under ex-Brown County Auditor Rex Bessent – from 1998 until 2001.

"The auditor's job is an important one and the duties of the office must be carried out in a competent and effective manner," Ellis said in a news release Thursday. "The public expects and deserves sound financial management from county officials and employees. The district judge has general supervisor authority over the commissioner's court under Texas Law and the way that is primarily exercised is through the county auditor."

Ellis said Assistant Brown County Auditor Josie Contreras and Administrative Assistant Valerie Williams will remain in the Brown County Auditor's Office.

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