Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

December 20, 2013

Commissioners appoint Young as interim auditor

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

RUSK — The Cherokee County Commissioners Court on Thursday unanimously appointed veteran lawyer Dana Norris Young as interim county attorney.

Young replaces Kelley Peacock, who was recently appointed to replace Craig Fletcher as Cherokee County's interim County Court At Law judge.

Young also has announced to at least one county official that she intends to run for the position during the March 4, 2014 primary.

Young, who has been an attorney for 18 years, will receive the same annual salary Peacock did in this position — $116,872, which includes a $46,872 salary plus a state of Texas annual salary supplement of $70,000, according to Cherokee County Auditor L. H. Crockett.

Young had not yet moved into the county attorney's office on Thursday. Calls to her attorney's office went to voicemail.

But Precinct 3 Cherokee County Commissioner Katherine W. Pinotti said there is a lot of positive buzz in the county surrounding the new appointee.

"She called me last week and said she was planning to run for county attorney and wanted to speak with me — we had a very nice conversation," Commissioner Pinotti said. "I started asking around my precinct and received some very good, consistent, reports. Several of my constituents have asked me to support Dana because they believe she is a good person and a good attorney. I was very comfortable with our vote to appoint her Thursday."

After earning a doctors of jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in December 1994, Young first received her lawyer's license in November 1995, legal records show.

Young has zero disciplinary history as a state of Texas attorney,  records show.

She also is an incumbent member of the Rusk ISD school board, a position she must now resign because the Texas Attorney General stipulates a person may not serve on two political bodies that could possibly adopt policies on the same issues.

"We are working with her to set a meeting to accept her resignation," RISD District Superintendent Scott Davis said Thursday. "The board will go about its business of finding someone to fill that spot until the next election in May."

However, her departure won't be immediate. The Texas Constitutional Holdover Doctrine stipulates that all public officers must continue to perform the duties of their offices until their successors are selected and appointed in their place.

Therefore, Superintendent Davis said, the new county attorney cannot just resign from the school board. The position has to be filled with an appointment before that can happen.