Grayson County said goodbye to some long-term employees in 2020
Many of the people in key leadership positions, both elected and not, at Grayson County have held those positions for years if not decades and are beginning to retire. In 2020, the county lost leaders in the Information Technology Department, Purchasing Department and at the District Attorney's Office.
Maybe the most noticeable retirement saw the passing of the torch at the head of the county's Information Technology Department when Ken Miller retired in September.
After 23 years with the county, Miller left the county’s information technology in the hands of his handpicked crew.
“Watching the growth over the last 20 plus years has been fascinating,” he said in an email the week before he left. “I've been very lucky to have a very dedicated, efficient and cohesive team to work with through that growth. Grayson County has been in the spotlight a number of times for successfully leveraging technology to improve processes that allow doing more with less. Our Criminal Justice Processes have been a benchmark for many counties and states.”
“My biggest challenge,” Miller said, “was convincing the entities back then the importance of investing in new technology. In 2003, the Data Center was dissolved and brought under Grayson County as the Grayson County Information Technology department. From 2003 on we experienced a steady growth in technology and are still experiencing that to this day. I had the pleasure of serving a very forward-thinking user base as well as a supportive Commissioners Court over the years.This combination was a very pleasant surprise for me.”
Miller left the department in the hands of Rob Crow who had worked for him for a number of years.
Ken Miller wasn't the only member of his family to retire from the county this year. His wife Erin did as well. She had also been with the county for 22 years.
She started as felony secretary in the District Attorney’s Office and then moved to the Tax Office and then to the Purchasing Office before moving back to the Tax Office as the chief deputy.
The IT department wasn't the only part of county government to suffer some losses to retirement this year. The District Attorney's Office said so long to some employees who have given decades to the county as well.
Victim's Services Division Director Mona Robnett retired in October after 19 years with the office.
"My husband has been at his job for 40 years so we were kicking things around about retirement," Robnett said when asked about her intention to leave. "And then there was a murder. I know this sounds silly, but this one, this murder, there was just something about it. It hit me hard. I felt the weight of it and it made me feel tired. That was when I knew it was really time to seriously start thinking of retirement."
"I worked with all victims of violent crime; provided crime victims compensation applications, victim impact statements and assisted with completing those if necessary; assisted with getting the VINE (now called SAVNS) system in Grayson County and assist victims in signing up with VINE/SAVNS when requested," Robnett said at the time of her retirement. She said she also, accompanied victims to criminal proceedings and trial and assisted with trial prep; wrote and maintained grants for our grant programs; developed the Domestic Violence Investigator Program; worked for and with Joe Brown and others on the development of the Children’s Advocacy Center; and maintained various report and documents requested by entities of the State of Texas.
Before going to work at the D.A.'s office under then District Attorney Joe Brown, Robnett worked for Juvenile Alternatives in Sherman. Kathy Scheibmeir is the new Victim's Services Coordinator.
Robnett was not the only one to retire from the D.A.'s Office in 2020. Long-time Domestic Violence Investigator Terry Dunn also retired after 18 years with the office, but 40 years in law enforcement.Dunn worked 26 years for the Sherman Police Department before retiring. He didn't like retirement though and when he heard District Attorney Joe Brown was losing a domestic violence investigator, Dunn applied for the position.
"There are probably dozens of women who are alive today because of Terry Dunn," GC DA Brett Smith told commissioners at the time of Dunn's retirement earlier this month.
In addition to Robnett and Dunn, the Grayson County District Attorney's Office also lost a prosecutor to retirement in 2020. Bi Hunt had been with the office 15 years and decided that the end of the December would be her last day there. She said she had been doing the same kind of cases, often involving murder or child abuse, for a number of years and it was time to step away from all of that.
Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith said, she has been the kind of employee who was often still at her desk working at night when he left the office and who cared deeply about the victims of the cases she prosecuted. Hunt plans to spend some time with family but didn't rule out continuing to practice law in some form. She also said her children are growing up in Grayson County so she plans to stay in the area.
JoAnn Grant retired from the Grayson County Purchasing Office in May after 27 years with the county.
Grayson County commissioners praised Grant for her work for the county especially Commissioner Bart Lawrence who credited her for helping former Grayson County Commissioner Gene Short with the State Highway 289 expansion and with helping Lawrence when he took over as commissioner in that precinct. Grant originally went to work at the county with the Health Department as an indigent clerk in 1993. In 1995, she transferred to the Purchasing Department where she spent the rest of her county career.