Bob McGrath, a civil district court judge in Tarrant County, was hired as the new legal adviser for the Dallas County Commissioners Court today.
McGrath, a Republican, first won election to the 342nd District Court in 1992 and has sat on the bench since 1993.
Once he officially resigns, Gov. Rick Perry will have the option of appointing someone to head that court until a new judge is elected, according to Ann Diamond with the Tarrant County district attorney's office. *(SEE CORRECTION BELOW)
McGrath wasn't up for re-election this year but his resignation will automatically add that race to the November ballot.
Since the primary is behind us, the executive committees of the local Republican and Democratic parties will get to choose candidates, Diamond said. Third party, independent and write-in candidates will also be able to run.
McGrath was among about 40 applicants to apply for the legal adviser job in Dallas County, according to Commissioners Court Administrator Darryl Martin.
Commissioners took the unusual step of creating the position because of recent situations in which they didn't see eye-to-eye with District Attorney Crag Watkins' staff, Martin said.
"They feel like at times they would like some outside, independent legal advice," Martin said.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to hire McGrath, with Kenneth Mayfield dissenting.
(*This post has been updated to reflect corrected information from Diamond. She said she erred when she said a Perry-appointed judge would serve out the rest of the year. Any judge appointed by Perry to replace McGrath would only serve until the results from the November election were canvassed, Diamond said. At that point, the winner from that race would take over as judge of the 342nd District Court.)