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.