The biggest change Grayson County Attorney Clay Ratley has made so far is moving the Child Support office off the square and into the courthouse across the street.
With Ratley’s office on the second floor of the courthouse in the middle of Public Square, the Child Support offices now share the same building and are only separated by one floor.
“My goal in moving the office was to bring the two offices closer together and work more efficiently as one office,” said Ratley. “Having the Child Support department in this building is better for us all and really works financially.”
The county previously rented the space used at 52 Public Square and is able to save the rent money by using an office space that is already owned by the county.
The move may save the county attorney’s office almost $7,000 in monthly rent and utilities fees.
In addition to moving the office Ratley is using technology to make his own office more efficient.
In a recent meeting with city police officers and sheriff deputies, Ratley explained a new software program he is using for E-warrants and how that software will benefit the officers. The program is a system that makes warrants available online and replaces the need for officers to have a hard copy in hand. It is so simple that a judge can sign a warrant for someone's arrest by using his phone, instead of an attorney having to try to find him in person.
Then the officer can access the warrant online and allows several officers to obtain the information at once.
The old paper warrant system frequently required days to process a warrant, and sometimes those warrants would get lost.
“When a warrant is needed the information goes from the police officer to me to the judge. If the judge finds sufficient cause then he signs a warrant,” said Ratley. “The warrant is then available online and they all have the same information.”
The program also givers the officer the ability to put in any street and see if there is anyone on that street with an outstanding warrant.
Ratley has also agreed to try to limit the amount of time an officer has to spent at the courthouse awaiting certain cases.
“A great deal of time is lost by the officer just sitting around waiting for the case to be called and hopefully we can streamline things and eliminate some of the wait time,” said Ratley.
There are many jobs that go along with the position of county attorney and Ratley is adjusting to what he calls the fast pace of the office.
“I really love the job. There are so many different hats that I wear,” said Ratley. “One minute I am at a fiscal court meeting dealing with issues of the county and the next I am prosecuting someone for meth. The job is never boring.”
He does say there are some aspects of the job that are not fun and at times he can not make all parties happy but that is just part of the way it works.
“I try to remember the victims need a voice and I am that voice,” said Ratley. “Sometimes people came in here because they have no idea where to turn and we can at least guide them in the direction they need to go.”
Ratley does work with two assistant county attorneys. Zanda Gillock is the Assistant County Attorney in charge of juveniles and Don Contrell assists Ratley with anything that does not pertain to the juvenile system.
Ratley says he is still in the learning process and is hoping to not have to deal with too many surprises but he is honored to have the trust of the people who elected him to do the job.
“I worked really hard during the election and really appreciate the opportunity to do the job that the people of Grayson County have elected me to do,” said Ratley. “I look forward to serving those people.”