Grayson County Commissioners welcomed a new fire marshal to the fold on Tuesday.
Andy Brazie didn’t address commissioners Tuesday, but told media representatives he was happy to get the job. Though the fire marshal duties were new to him, Brazie has been with the county for a while and is an old hand at firefighting.
Brazie, who is also the county’s environmental officer, said one of the things that he wants to work on is a way to stop illegal dumping before it starts.
As an experienced law enforcement officer, Brazie has 27 years in the field. He said he started in Arizona where he spent 21 years with the Goodyear Police Department. He said he then spent six years working in the court system there before coming to Texas where he joined the fire department in Southmayd.
“I have been an EMT for 30 plus years,” Brazie said, adding he later became fire chief in Southmayd.
Brazie said he has investigated a couple of suspicious fires during his tenure as fire chief with Southmayd. But he is looking forward to get a lot more training in that area in the very near future.
He said a desire to see more than one season brought him to Texas.
“I got tired of blue skies,” he joked before saying he also has a sister who lives in Gainesville.
Brazie said he took over the environmental officer duty shortly after that position and the fire marshal’s position opened up.
“The more I got into it, the more I enjoyed it,” Brazie said of the environmental job.
In July, Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt called a news conference to announce that he had fired previous Fire Marshal Kevin Walton and Assistant Fire Marshal Kerry Price. He said the action came after an internal investigation that began earlier in the month.
“The investigation found conduct that could be considered criminal in nature; specifically forgery of a government document,” Watt said at the time of that incident.
The document, he said, was an inspection form for personal protection equipment and had to do with an audit. Watt said the pair had five days to appeal his decision and Walton did. At the end of that appeal, Walton ended up resigning his position and Price was terminated.
Watt said the investigation began during the period when the marshals were being handed off between the two offices after he received information from Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers that he determined needed to be looked into further.
After Walton’s resignation, he later applied for unemployment benefits and was turned down. He appealed that decision and won the appeal.
The Texas Workforce Commission’s decision said that the county discharged Walton because he didn’t have a peace officer’s license but he was not required to have one to do the job. Therefore, TWC said, “the employer is considered to have discharged him for reasons other than misconduct connected with the work.” TWC then reversed its decision denying Walton unemployment benefits and charging those to Grayson County.
Sherman attorney Bobbie Cate represented Walton in his hearing before the county commissioners. She said her client plans to collect his unemployment benefits while he looks for another job.
The county began its fire marshal program in 2012.