Commissioners discuss transition to new Brown County attorney

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Commissioners are waiting on a report on Brown County Courthouse structural issues

Brown County Commissioners Court members discussed the possibility Monday of having former Brown County Attorney Shane Britton work temporarily as a part-time assistant county attorney to help his successor, Jennifer Broughton, as she transitions into the office.

Commissioners took no action.

"Jennifer and I have talked about this, and the court has talked about it earlier," commissioner Gary Worley said. "We agreed tentatively that there needs to be a transition period where the old county attorney, Shane Britton, needs to stay for a little while and bring Jennifer up to speed on the cases that have already been filed. I think Jennifer agreed with me that somewhere around 30 to 45 days would be sufficient time to have Shane stay and be a part-time assistant county attorney.

"I don’t know what the pay would need to be. I think it would probably need to be at least half of what the assistant county attorney is making now, but for no more than 45 days.  If it takes three weeks, 15 days, then Jennifer would notify Shane that that was plenty of time and then tell us."

Assistant county auditor Jose Contreras said money to pay Britton could probably be pulled from a budget contingency fund.

Broughton, who took office as Brown County attorney Friday, said, "I'm not opposed to any help that you guys want to pay for. Obviously he's been there 20 years. Certainly some overlap probably wouldn't hurt.

Broughton said she has someone lined up to begin working as assistant county attorney beginning May 1. She said she doesn't want funding for Britton's pay as a part-time assistant to interfere with her ability to set up her office. 

"I'm certainly not going to turn down any assistance you guys want to pay for to help with the transition," Broughton said.

Broughton said later that Genetha Chastain, who is in private practice, will be the new assistant county attorney beginning May 1.

In other business Monday, commissioners were told structural issues with the courthouse.

Commissioners viewed a piece of concrete that fell from the top. Commissioners were also told beams near the top are rusting, and cracks are developing.

Commissioner said an insurance adjuster who will be in town to look at issues with The Oaks Juvenile Detention facility and the sheriff's office will be asked to look at the courthouse.