By CHRIS AGEE
First discussed by Palo Pinto County Commissioners one month ago, Monday county officials approved a proposal by Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer to create a staff position dedicated to courthouse security.
Though Mercer initially suggested the associated duties would be best separated into two positions, commissioners differed.
"The general consensus is we will go with one person," County Judge David Nicklas said Monday.
Mercer presented a proposed budget and job description for the security position, explaining he will be looking for a personable individual capable of handling serious situations, should they arise.
"I think most of the people in the courthouse are for it," he added, noting the total budget amounted to just over $59,000. The salary for the position, according to Mercer, will be on par with that of a jail sergeant, and he indicated a number of individuals have already expressed an initial interest in filling it.
Also contained in the budget is an allotment for training sessions and unexpected costs associated with the new program.
"Miscellaneous expenses will get us set up," he said.
With the commissioners' approval, Mercer said he can begin officially looking for the right candidate to fill the position.
Juvenile officer position approved
Commissioners also approved the creation and funding of a new officer position within the county's juvenile probation department.
Palo Pinto Chief of Juvenile Probation Robert Kimbrell presented his agency's recommendation for the part-time position to assist in multiple areas.
During the last six months, he said, activity in the juvenile probation department has experienced a marked increase.
That jump is attributable in large part to truancies, he added, noting he has been working with the county's school districts to log hundreds of cases without sufficient manpower.
He said keeping all necessary paperwork updated is difficult and his secretary spends about two hours on each case completing such duties.
Kimbrell suggested creating the position to extend at least until the end of the year to help clear the backlog of paperwork and to assist in the community service aspect of juvenile probation.
He said funding would cost the county about $5,061, which commissioners decided to take from a contingency fund.
In other business, commissioners:
• Approved a request to re-plat Section 4, Block 1, Lots 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the Sportsman's World subdivision.
• Approved a request to re-plat Section 1, Block 2, Lots 28 and 29 of the Sportsman's World subdivision.
• Approved a request to re-plat Phase 3, Section 5, Lots 686 and 687 of The Hills Above Possum Kingdom Lake subdivision.
• Approved a request to re-plat Phase 3, Section 5, Lots 535-R and 546-R of The Hills Above Possum Kingdom Lake subdivision.
• Approved a request to re-plat Phase 3, Section 5, Lots 679 and 680 of The Hills Above Possum Kingdom Lake subdivision.
• Approved joint uniform elections between the County Election Administrator's office and the City of Mineral Wells, Mineral Wells Independent School District, Palo Pinto ISD, Strawn ISD and Gordon ISD to provide election services for upcoming May elections.
• Accepted Commissary Audit Report presented by County Auditor Sharon Allen.
• Took no action on burn ban.