To make the office more efficient, handle cases faster and save some money in the process, Terry County Attorney Jo’Shae Ferguson-Worley addressed Terry County Commissioners recently to request a new position be created that would combine both the Misdemeanor Clerk position as well as the Misdemeanor Investigator position.
The newly-created job will be held by current City Code Enforcement Officer Adam Stevens.
Terry County Judge JD Butch Wagner said commissioners voted to approve the personnel revamp because commissioners considered the combination to be more efficient in both funding and case management. The Terry County Attorney’s Office currently has only one investigator who catches the brunt of the workload. But once Stevens takes the position Wednesday, Aug. 6, he will take charge of the misdemeanor cases and also help with the felony workload when he is available.
Ferguson-Worley said she thought that in the past other Terry County Attorney’s wanted to create the position as well. The timing for the personnel revamp, however, was only recently convenient.
“My understanding is for years the County Attorney’s Office has requested a second investigator and what we did was to combine a second investigator with the Misdemeanor Clerk position, so they will be handling both.”
The Misdemeanor Clerk position was held by Geronimo Gonzales who has taken another position, but is still employed by Terry County in another capacity.
 “We’re not absolutely sure how this will work out, but the new position will also be assisting with felonies,” Ferguson-Worley said. “They will handle misdemeanors and assist with felony cases when they can and have time. It is also going to depend on how the court dates fall.”
Ferguson-Worley said the benefits to creating the new position have a great deal to do with efficiency and speed as a heavy caseload is plaguing the current investigator.  She said combining the two positions saves money as the county only has to provide benefits such as sick time, vacation time and health insurance for one employee instead of two.
“We were just basically trying to cut costs and save the county some money, but still be able to have somebody that is a commissioned officer and experienced law enforcement that would be able to handle investigations in addition to doing the paperwork.”
The Terry County Attorney said Stevens is a good fit for the position because he is not only a commissioned peace officer, but also extremely efficient with paperwork, which will come in handy with the new position.  Ferguson-Worley said she hasn’t worked with Stevens in his current position as Code Enforcement Officer, but was familiar with Stevens’ work while he was employed by the Terry County Sheriff’s Department as well as when he was employed as a Brownfield police officer.
“I’m familiar with his work as far as clerical work goes,” she said. “I’ve read reports of his and seen how thorough he is and that would be required for the clerical side of this position.  We not only need an officer that is able to investigate, but also someone who can do paperwork. He will correctly put together both positions due to his experience. I felt like he would be a great person to handle that position.”
“We are excited for this move and this change in our office,” she added. “I feel like this is really going to be a benefit to the county and will ensure misdemeanors are moved faster as are the cases.”