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Commissioners accept Humphrey’s resignation, appoint Swenson as J.P.


Clay County Commissioners on Monday appointed John Swenson of Petrolia to replace Jim Humphrey as Justice of the Peace of Clay County until the end of his term Dec. 31, 2014.

Humphrey has resigned from the position, effective May 31, after serving for 30 years. He has worked for the county for 32 years. Commissioners accepted his resignation during the meeting.

“We’re losing one of, if not the, most knowledgeable J.P.’s in the State of Texas,” said County Judge Kenneth Liggett.

Swenson has practiced as an attorney in Clay, Archer and Montague counties for more than 19 years, and spent time as an assistant district attorney in the 97th District Court. In 2012, Swenson ran for the office of district attorney, but was defeated in the May Republican Primary.

Swenson has served as a prosecuting attorney for the Texas Department of Public Safety and as an administrative law judge for the State Office of Administrative Hearings, covering north and panhandle regions of Texas.

During a 20-year career in the U.S. Army, Swenson served three combat tours in Vietnam as a helicopter and airplane pilot and commanded a military police company. Swenson said one of his more unique assignments was serving as commander of the First Cavalry Horse Platoon, the army’s national touring cavalry demonstration team, stationed at Fort Sill, Okla.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Approved a form for the agreement for disposal of waste dirt, soil or brush removed from county roads on a landowner’s property to be used when disposal situations arise.  Commissioners also approved agreements with Wilson Scaling for a property on Scaling Road and Ross Coleman on Jackson Lane. Both Properties are in Precinct 3.
  • Approved an easement for right-of-way from Warren Ayers, ClayTex Ranch and Aquila Operating Company to Clay County of 0.76 acres, located at the intersection of Hwy. 287 and Wynn-Gray Road for the replacement of a bridge by TxDOT.
  • Deemed two Dell printers as salvage and a Cannon fax machine as surplus. The equipment will be removed from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Approved contracts for the use of elections equipment with the City of Henrietta, Henrietta ISD, the City of Petrolia and Petrolia CISD.
  • Approved the annual roads report to be forwarded to the Clay County grand jury as required in the state transportation code.
  • Approved the development of an inter-local agreement with Wichita Falls ISD for the use of 50 guardrail posts stored at the Precinct 2 barn in Dean. The posts were given to the county years ago by TxDOT.
  • Approved a request by Precinct 4 Commissioner A.J. Peek to advertise for bids on scrap metal located at the precinct barn in Bellevue. Bids will be opened in the June 10 meeting of commissioners.
  • Tabled a request to join the Regional Public Defenders Office for Capital Cases.

Commissioners pushed back their next meeting until Tuesday, May 28 due to the Memorial Day holiday.


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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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