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Old grant gets approval for new leader

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Kathy Scheibmeir talks to former Grayson County Assistant District Attorney Bi Hunt in 2019.

Kathy Scheibmeir advocates for victim's services

For years, Mona Robnett with the Grayson County District Attorney's Office, asked the Grayson County Commissioner's Court to approve the application for the Violence Against Women Act grant that helps to pay for part of the salary for a domestic violence investigator for the DA's Office. 

However, on Tuesday, the person who stepped into Robnett's shoes when she retired made the request of commissioners. The change in personnel was not lost on the court as some of them commented on it being the first time the grant had come up since Robnett retired in October.

Grayson County commissioners this week approved the application for a grant aimed at helping stop domestic violence in the county. The grant has been around for at least a decade but the person seeking the court's approval this week did so in a new capacity.

Kathy Scheibmeir grew up in Longview and moved to Sherman at age 15 with her mother and stepfather, Trudy and Dave Maxwell.

"I graduated from Sherman High School and attended Grayson County College in the Paralegal Program.," said in a recent email. "I briefly worked at the US Attorney’s office before I married Pete. We moved away from Texas while Pete was in the Navy and then we moved to Virginia in 1998. We moved back to Sherman in 2010 in order for our 9 children to be closer to our extended family."

 A few years after that, Scheibmeir found herself ready to work outside of her home again and took a part-time job with Wilma Bush at the Grayson County Clerk's Office. 

 "She took a chance on hiring me when I had basically been out of the work force for years while raising my family," her email said. "I began working at the DA’s office in 2016. My Dad was a Deputy in Gregg County and my Step-Dad was a Federal Court Reporter, so I was comfortable joining the team at the District Attorney’s Office."

Scheibmeir said getting to know Robnett and Tara Brown who were in the Victim's Services part of the DA's office led her to know immediately that was where she wanted to work.

"I was the victim of crime when I was 13, and I had to testify before the Grand Jury at that time," the email said. "When Tara retired Joe promoted me into the position of Victim Services Coordinator and Grand Jury Coordinator. Joe and Mona helped me get all the needed training and I joined the Victim Services team in May of 2017."

Scheibmeir has continued that work with current D.A. Brett Smith and her duties include  writing grants, assisting with protective orders and bond conditions, accompanying victims and the family of victims to court when needed, and being the point of contact for victims with the D.A.'s Office.

" I also make sure that Victim Impact Statements are sent out and I communicate with the prosecutor if the Victim wants to make a Victim Impact Statement in person," the email continued. "I also coordinate the Crime Victim’s Compensation packets through the Office of Attorney General. I work closely with all law enforcement agencies within Grayson County when a violent crime has occurred so that I can reach out to the victims as soon as possible and help them navigate the Criminal Justice process."

Scheibmeir told commissioners the Violence Against Women Act grant application that they approved will result in a grant, should it be approved, that will help to pay the salary of Terry Syler. 

"Terry contacts all of the victims in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking that come into the District Attorney's Office from law enforcement and gathers demographic and contact information," Scheibmeir said of Syler's many duties.

Te grant will cover $33,536 of Slyer's $77,675 salary with the county providing the remaining $44,130. The new grant figures in a 5 percent increase in that salary, she said, but Slyer will only get the amount of increase that the court ultimately decides to set for county staffers in the budget years controlled by the contract.

The grant is an ongoing one that the county has been applying for and receiving for many year though the amount funded has gone up and down over time.