Grayson County Commissioners met with former Grayson County Fire Marshal Kevin Walton and Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt Tuesday in closed executive session.
Walton was fired from his job last week, along with Assistant Fire Marshal Kerry Price, over what Watt described as a forgery of an inspection form for personal protection equipment. Watt said the conduct was something that “could be considered criminal in nature.”
Back in June, Watt’s office took over management of the Fire Marshal’s Office from the county’s Office of Emergency Management. As the fire marshal, deputy fire marshal and the assistant fire marshal are appointed by the Grayson County Commissioners Court, Walton made his case for his job Tuesday in front of the commissioners. At the end of their executive session, Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said they would have a decision about the fire marshal’s job next Tuesday.
That will be one day after Watt hears an appeal from Walton. Watt said when the commissioners switched the fire marshals to his office, it was with the understanding that the commissioners would abide by any personnel decisions he might make about the positions in the future.
After his firing, Walton referred questions about the case to Sherman attorney Bobbie Cate.
“Kevin Walton is very upset & disappointed in the decision of the GCSO to terminate his employment,” Cate said at the time via email. “A notice of appeal was hand delivered to the Sheriff’s Office first thing this morning. He will pursue all legal avenues available to clear his name and get his job reinstated.”
The county began its fire marshal office in 2012 when Walton and David Gallagher were named fire marshal and assistant fire marshal, respectively. That move came as the county tried to deal with a round of grass fires that appeared to have been deliberately set. Walton and Gallagher were to investigate fires in the unincorporated areas of the county and make arrests where appropriate. In July 2016, the county swore in its first deputy fire marshal when Price was promoted to the position from fire investigator. Gallagher left the department in November.