The Ector County Commissioners Court on Thursday approved the resignation of County Attorney Gregory Barber and then voted to replace him with attorney Lee McClendon, who has worked in the county’s legal department for nearly two decades.
Barber, who was elected to the four-year County Attorney position in November, is stepping down after less than one year to assume a new role as Assistant District attorney for the county. McClendon will have to run for the County Attorney position next year if he wishes to retain the job.
Judge Debi Hays praised McClendon and Barber and said the county is fortunate to have both men continue to serve the county.
“I’m honored for the opportunity to serve as County Attorney,” McClendon said. “I’ve had the opportunity to serve the county in a number of positions.”
A 1981 Permian High School graduate, McClendon earned a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from University of Texas of Austin in 1986.
After going into private practice for several years, McClendon was hired as a prosecutor by the Ector County District Attorney’s Office in 2003, where he handled felony cases. Since 2013 he has handled misdemeanor cases for the county.
Earlier this week Hays erroneously stated that the County Attorney position would not be filled due to reorganizing of several duties. McClendon on Thursday explained that the County Attorney job is an elected position and by law must be filled.
The state legislature in September approved a long-expected change that now places all misdemeanors and juvenile and Child Protective Services cases under the jurisdiction of Dwight Richard “Dusty” Gallivan, who was elected Ector County district attorney last year. Those responsibilities, along with civil cases, previously belonged to County Attorney.
“It was a difficult decision, but I think it’s in the best interest for me and the county that I resign and accept the position with the DA.”