Daniels supervised inmates who cleaned the courthouse, landscaped county property and maintained other county buildings.
After Monday's meeting, Fowler said Daniels improperly took inmates to Gregg County several times when he went to buy supplies for projects, and that he improperly let them “use the land line in his office for personal calls. … A very serious breach of security.”
“On one occasion, he left four inmates unattended in the parking lot at Sam's (in Longview) for over half an hour,” Fowler said. An Upshur County resident saw Daniels and the inmates there, and called Precinct 2 County Commissioner Cole Hefner, the judge said.
On occasions when Daniels went to Sam's for supplies, he took inmates with him rather than returning them to jail, and “he didn't think there was anything wrong with it,” the judge said.
But “the violations were serious enough that he could have lost his jail certificate,” Fowler told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. And most commissioners “felt like this is the only decision they could make in order to maintain the use of jail trusties.”
Daniels, 62, worked for the county nearly 19 1/2 years, including 12 as building maintenance supervisor. He was in the courtroom audience when the court terminated him and declined to comment immediately after the meeting.
Hefner, saying it was “probably the hardest decision I've ever had to make since I've been here,” made the motion to fire Daniels after the court met with the supervisor during part of an hour-long closed session.
“I think the world of you, Charlie,” Hefner said, but added he was moving to terminate the supervisor “due to the circumstances.” Commissioners Mike Spencer and Lloyd Crabtree voted for the motion, while Commissioner James Crittenden abstained. Fowler, who normally casts only tiebreaking votes, did not vote.
Daniels told Crabtree in the courthouse hallway afterward, “Ain't no big deal. … I've been blessed,” and he expressed appreciation for having the opportunity to work for the county.
Soon after that, as Daniels was on the elevator to depart, Hefner said, “I'm sorry, Charles.”
Daniels replied, “No problem.”
During Monday's special session, the court also accepted the resignation of County Road Engineer Eric Fisher, which was submitted last week. Fisher puts in his last day today.