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Matt Britton resigning to take corporate position

King George Commonwealth’s Attorney Matt Britton is resigning from his elected office effective Sept. 3. 

Britton is in the eighth month of his third six-year term. He first took office in 2000.  

He is also quitting as part-time county attorney effective Sept. 30. 

Britton is leaving both positions to take a job as counsel to a corporation, which has not been specified. 

Britton told The Journal, “I am honored and privileged to have served this great County and Commonwealth for almost 13 years. I will miss public service and the great folks that I have worked with.” 

Britton added, “I am humbled by the outpouring of affection and accolades that my colleagues and friends across the Commonwealth have given to me. May God bless our great County, Commonwealth and Nation.” 

The resignations were apparently a topic of conversation during a closed meeting for discussion of ‘a personnel matter related to the county attorney’ that was added to the agenda at last week’s meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 7. 

No announcement or action was taken on the matter when the Board of Supervisors reconvened in open session, with Britton immediately slipping out the side door. 

Britton followed up Tuesday evening’s confidential discussion behind closed doors with a brief letter to each board member and county administrator Travis Quesenberry the next day. 

Those were hand-delivered to their mailboxes in the Revercomb building on Wednesday, providing the scanty details noted above along with information about his replacement. 

SPECIAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 2013

In regard to the elected constitutional office of Commonwealth’s Attorney, Britton said in his letter that his replacement will be Keri Gusmann. 

Gusmann is Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney, who will take over the position on Sept. 4. The position brings with it a salary set at $113,760, which is the amount that flows through the county from the state Board of Compensation for that position.

That action to elevate Gusmann happens automatically, as in the situation a couple years ago, when long-time Sheriff Clarence “Moose” Dobson resigned a year before his term was up with Steve Dempsey taking over prior to his subsequent election.

State Code is very clear on the matter, saying the highest ranking full-time assistant attorney moves into the position until a special election is ordered. 

It’s not known how long Britton knew in advance that he would resign, but he was careful to not let the cat out of the bag until it was a few days too late for a last minute special election to be called and held this November 2012. 

The law says a special election ordered by the court is to be held at the next ensuing general election in November, unless the vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to that election. That pushes the special election forward a year to November 2013. 

COUNTY ATTORNEY

It is expected that with an actual letter in hand, Supervisors will formally accept Britton’s resignation as county attorney at their meeting next week on Aug. 21 and decide on a course of action for locating a replacement to fill the vacancy on Oct. 1. 

Britton has charged the county a rock-bottom fee of $100 an hour that was set several years ago. That was likely considered on the low side for attorney billing at that time, with many successful experienced attorneys currently charging upwards of three times that amount. 

County records indicate that Britton’s billing as county attorney for 2011-12 through June 1 (obtained by The Journal in June, one month short of the full fiscal year) came to just under $60,000. Outside counsel is employed for most of the county’s litigation, with the county attorney coordinating those efforts in cooperation with county administrator Travis Quesenberry at the direction of the Board of Supervisors.

 

Phyllis Cook

 

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