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Officials prepare to review applicants for county attorney

Alamance County’s leaders have apparently crossed the first hurdle in their search for a new legal counsel to replace their former county attorney Clyde Albright, who was summarily dismissed from his post in October.

Earlier this week, the county’s interim attorney Debra Bechtel informed the county’s board of commissioners that the application period for Albright’s would-be successors had officially concluded last Wednesday.

Interim county attorney Debra Bechtel.

Bechtel conceded that some of the applicants for the county attorney’s position don’t even have law degrees. She nevertheless expressed her confidence in “the quality” of other contenders.

Bechtel went on to note that the top candidates for county attorney would ultimately be invited to interviews with a panel that she said would include two of the five county commissioners.

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“Hopefully, in the next few months, we’ll have a new county attorney for you,” she added during the board’s latest regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday.

A retired county attorney from Conover who now works for the Teague Campbell law firm in Winston-Salem, Bechtel was originally retained by the commissioners even before they decided to oust Albright during a closed session on October 4. In fact, Bechtel was reportedly on call with the commissioners during that morning’s closed-door discussion.

Then-county attorney Clyde Albright.

Although state law requires public bodies to take formal action on personnel matters in open session, the commissioners did nothing to confirm Albright’s dismissal when they emerged from their confidential conclave on October 4. Albright, who was excluded from the deliberations about his own fate, knew nothing about the board’s decision until two days later when he was ordered to clear out his office in the county’s legal department.

The commissioners ultimately tried to salvage the situation with a special-called meeting on October 11. During this brief gathering, they retroactively voted to dismiss Albright from his position as Alamance County’s attorney.

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