In his first major appointment, County Judge Mike Ford on Monday tapped Dwayne Griffin to be the county's new emergency management coordinator and fire marshal.
Griffin unsuccessfully ran against Ford in the November general election. Ford, who had been a county commissioner, ran on the Republican ticket, while Griffin, who was a justice of the peace, ran as a Democrat.
The two said they are glad to be working together again.
“I have found the right person for the job,” Ford said in an interview.
Griffin said he was “humbled” that Ford chose him for such an important postion.
Earlier in the day, the new Somervell County Commissioners Court convened for their first meeting since Ford and County Commissioner John Curtis were sworn in on Jan. 1. Commissioners went into executive session to discuss the position.
Ford had asked the court to consider amending the previous job description that combined emergency management and economic development.
“I believe economic development belongs on the judge's desk,” Ford explained. “I believe the judge ought to be the lead on that.”
Combining emergency management and the fire marshal job is a “hand-in-glove kind of position,” Ford added. The state requires that the county fire marshal be a certified peace officer.
"He will be a licensed arson investigator," Ford said. "His job is to follow up on fires, conduct investigations and use subpoena capabilities" to gather evidence.
"Even more important is the emergency management side of it," Ford added. Griffin will stay in close contact with the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant and the state's department of emergency management. He will be on call 24 hours a day.
Griffin has a long law enforcement background and roots in Somervell County. He graduated from Whitehouse High School in Whitehouse, Texas and from Tyler Junior College with an associate of applied science degree.
Griffin served as a patrol officer with the Dallas Police Department and in 1994 began working as a Somervell County Deputy Sheriff. In 2002 he was elected Justice of the Peace.
In 1875 his great-great-grandparents, John and Mary Jane Eddy, settled the Nemo community, where many of his family members remain today.
Griffin is married to Connie Dillard and they have two children, Brandon, and Sarah, who is a a student at Glen Rose High School.
Griffin's new position officially begins on Monday.