Brown County Judge Ray West's effort to appoint Mechail Cox, a former employee of the district attorney's office, as emergency management coordinator for the county ended in controversy Monday morning. Cox was not appointed.

A sharply-toned discussion between West and commissioners ensued after West's motion to appoint Cox died for lack of a second. West demanded to know why commissioners objected to Cox's appointment. Commissioners said the job should have been advertised long and they should have had more involvement, and that there had been more qualified applicants.

West maintained that Cox was the most qualified of the applicants and that the other applicants "just wouldn't work out." If there were others more qualified, West said, "they didn't show up. I interviewed everyone who submitted an application."

West said he wasn't sure the job had actually been advertised but said word had gotten around that Brent Bush had announced his plans to retired from the job last month.

"The word gets out. The word was out." Word had gotten around that Brent Bush had announced his plans to retire last month from the job.

Robert Spratt of Cross Cut stood up in the audience and told West and commissioners he was one of the applicants. Spratt, a former officer with the United States Capitol Police and currently an officer with the Texas State Guard, said he is well qualified and had brought a packet to West's office on Aug. 28, but had never been contacted.

Spratt said he'd never seen a job listing but had heard that Bush was retiring and made a phone call to verify that.

West ended the discussion abruptly, saying he is the emergency management director and he doesn't think he needs the court's approval to appoint Cox "as my assistant."

West said the matter will be taken up later and he may appoint her as his assistant. "The matter's closed," West said.

After the commissioners court meeting, Bangs Fire Chief Dennis Lilley said he too had applied for the job.

For more details, see Tuesday's Bulletin and further updates on