Grayson County Commissioners agreed to pay First Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Kerye Ashmore more than $5,000 Tuesday for the time he spent acting as the county’s District Attorney.
Ashmore served as the interim District Attorney for two months earlier this year.
An interim district attorney was needed when Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown accepted a nomination to the position of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas in the middle of his term of office. Brown’s term as Grayson County District Attorney wasn’t set to end until 2020. When Brown was first nominated, Brett Smith and Britton Brooks, both assistant district attorneys, announced they were each running for the spot. Most people thought Brown would be confirmed before the deadline for Brooks and Smith to get on the primary ballot. That did not happen. Brown was not confirmed until February. Then it came down to the precinct chairs to pick the person to put on the ballot.
Commissioners called for applications for those wishing to be considered to be the interim DA and both Ashmore and Smith applied. Commissioners eventually picked Smith and he was sworn in on May 1.
Smith told commissioners he thought it only fair that Ashmore be paid for the extra work he performed during the two months that he served as interim DA. He said Ashmore signed additional plea agreements and forfeitures. Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said the money won’t have an impact on the county’s budget because $3,000 of it will come from the general fund and is the $3,000 stipend that Brown would have received this year. The additional $2,500 will come from the District Attorney’s forfeiture fund.
In addition to their decision about paying Ashmore, the commissioners also approved the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office request for permission to apply for funds from the Firehouse Public Safety Foundation. Lt. Sarah Bigham told commissioners GCSO plans to ask the foundation for $16,000 worth of equipment, including ballistic vests, a K-9 bite training suit, hand held radios and breaching tools for the Special Response Team.
Commissioners also agreed to provide a letter of support for Senate Bill 292, which supports a mental health grant program for criminal justice involved individuals.