WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 11, 2011, 09:48 AM

Top prosecutor in Clay County headed to Iraq

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Clay County's top prosecutor is being deployed. Brian Melton is headed to Iraq for 16-months. It is his 2nd deployment. He was elected while serving overseas 4-years ago.

Come March 4th, Melton will set aside his role as the county attorney for his other job as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Minnesota National Guard.

Brian Melton informed the Clay County Board of Commissioners this morning that he will be leaving his post as County Attorney for approximately 16 months, a time that will include training and a year in Iraq.

Brian Melton: “The biggest point is being able to work with soldiers that are getting ready to go. There are a lot of things that we have to get ready, but there's some excitement to it.”

Melton said he is hoping to hire a former Clearwater County Attorney to assist the office on a temporary basis while he is gone.

“Looking for someone that has some experience and some knowledge in criminal procedures of court and the goings on day to day and we won't have a new person that we will have to train them on all those aspects.”

Those already working at the Clay County Attorney's office say they will miss him, but they are prepared to run the office in his absence.

Heidi Davies: “With every change in leadership, there's going to be some changes, but this is something that we knew was coming and we are ready for it.”

Melton said he will not take his salary while he is deployed and overall, with new hires and raises, the county will save around 27-thousand dollars

Davies: “When we have soldiers that are serving, we have to always keep that service in mind and step up when they go to serve for us.”

Melton told the Board that the current Assistant Attorney, Michelle Lawson, will be taking over his administrative duties and become the acting County Attorney while he is gone.