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Prosecutor to seek funding from grant for investigator

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By Louie Graves

Leader staff

With the quorum court’s blessing, Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir will seek a grant to fund an investigator for his office.

At the regular August meeting of the court, Monday, Chesshir explained that he would not hire an investigator unless the supervising state agency funded his grant request. In response to a question, he said he did not have anyone in mind for the job which would pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $33,000. He said he would not hire anyone who did not have experience. The investigator would ‘work’ all four counties in the judicial district.

The prosecutor said he learned that the 9th-West Judicial District did not get as much financial assistance from state agency as other districts, and that he had met with someone from that agency who told him funds might be available.

The job will be for one year, starting in October, with no promise of renewal. The same agency will continue to fund an employee for the district’s hot check program.

Most of the court’s time Monday was spent discussing the ambulance franchise. JP Jeannie Gorham moved that the court approve a repeat of the current franchise which awards exclusivity to the Nashville-based Howard County Ambulance Service for an area generally south of Mineral Springs. Her motion was for four years. JP Cotton Cothren, who has steadily argued for ambulance service presence in Dierks, objected because he said it would discourage anyone else from establishing a service in Dierks.

The discussion then ranged over to-and-fro transportation by ambulance services, and whether the current franchise agreement prevented any other service from returning a patient who was brought to the hospital by a different service.

In the end, JPs voted down Gorham’s motion by 2-7 so that they could table the issue for a month. In that time, the JPs hope to learn how state law restricts ambulance service as it pertains to the current dilemma.

All JPs were present for Monday’s meeting, including Dick Wakefield, Jerry Harwell, Bobby Don Turner, Kerry Strasner, Martha Hobbs, Brent Pinkerton, Janice Huffman, Cothren and Gorham. Also, County Judge Kevin Smith, who presided, Sheriff Bryan McJunkins and Treasurer Sheri Mixon. Deputy County Clerk Keri Teague served as recorder for the meeting.