GATESVILLE — Coryell County commissioners Monday voted to hire Kathy Smith as a mental health case manager as part of a state-funded program to provide legal services for indigent defendants with mental health problems.

Smith, who is a case manager for children and adolescents at the MHMR Center in Gatesville, will work with Allen Place, whose law firm represents indigent defendants under a grant from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.

The county will pay Smith $1,000 per month and be reimbursed through the state grant, County Judge John Firth said.

Smith will be supervised by Place and will not be a county employee, according to the contract.

Place’s law firm is paid $8,500 a month to represent indigent misdemeanor defendants who have been flagged with mental health issues.

The firm also accepts initial appointment on indigent felony defendants with mental health issues except in capital murder cases.

Smith’s role is to interview clients to determine appropriate mental health services and assist in coordinating probation conditions.

In other action Monday, the commissioners agreed to take over a 1.6-mile stretch of Farm-to-Market 931 from State Highway 36 at Flat south to the Fort Hood boundary.

The road will be renamed County Road 931.

In exchange for the county’s taking over the road, Firth said the Texas Department of Transportation will cancel a $217,000 debt the county owed for its share of right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation on U.S. Highway 84 from Gatesville west to the county line.

Contact Tim Orwig at torwig@kdhnews.com

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