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Gravely has team set for Commonwealth's Attorney's Office
Oaths administered Friday
Clay Gravely (right), Martinsville’s new commonwealth’s attorney, receives the oath of office Friday from city Clerk of Circuit Court Ashby Pritchett (left). Standing next to Gravely is his wife, Jennifer. (Bulletin photo by Mickey Powell)
Several familiar faces will be in the Martinsville commonwealth’s attorney’s office when Clay Gravely takes the helm Thursday.
With his wife, Jennifer, standing beside him, Gravely was administered the oath of office by city Circuit Court Clerk Ashby Pritchett on Friday in the second-floor courtroom at the municipal building.
Gravely, 36, defeated four-term incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney Joan Ziglar in the Nov. 5 election.
He rehired Paula Bowen and Alberto Herrero, the assistant commonwealth’s attorneys under Ziglar. He hired local lawyer Andrew Hall to be his new deputy commonwealth’s attorney.
Donald Goodman, who was Ziglar’s deputy, took a job elsewhere.
Ziglar, who did not attend the swearing-in ceremony, said Friday afternoon that Hall once worked for her as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney, but she could not immediately recall exactly when.
“I’m thrilled” that Gravely chose Hall to be his deputy, Ziglar said. Hall is intelligent and “an awesome person,” she said.
Bowen, Herrero and Hall also took their oaths Friday.
“We have a good team in place,” Gravely said, adding that he wanted to rehire Bowen and Herrero because they are competent attorneys.
“They have been real assets” to the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, he said.
Gravely said Ziglar’s administrative assistant, Renay Hairston, resigned.
Nancy Sherman, another assistant under Ziglar, was promoted to the administrative assistant’s job, Gravely said.
He added that Brittany Hewitt, his assistant for the past three years in his private law practice in Martinsville, is joining the commonwealth’s attorney’s office and will hold Sherman’s previous position.
Gravely was an assistant commonwealth’s attorney under Ziglar from 2008 to 2010 before starting his private practice, which he had to give up to hold his constitutional office.
Ziglar has “been very helpful,” he said, in helping him learn about existing caseloads.
Gravely also has worked as an associate member of the Martinsville law firm of Daniel Medley & Kirby PC, a litigation associate for the Hirschler Fleischer PC law firm in Richmond and a law clerk for Judge Jackson Kiser of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
Gravely has a law degree from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.
“I’m very excited” about being elected commonwealth’s attorney, he said, and “I look forward to getting to work. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
He pledged to be a “tough, but fair” chief prosecutor for the city.
During his campaign, Gravely pledged to do a “top-down review” of how the commonwealth’s attorney’s office operates to try to find efficiencies or ways to improve how it functions. He said Friday that he has begun that review by talking with office employees and examining policies and procedures.
However, “we’ve got a long way to go” before the review is finished, he said.
Also Friday, Pritchett administered oaths to three city officials re-elected on Nov. 5 — Sheriff Steve Draper, Commissioner of the Revenue Ruth Easley and Treasurer Cindy Dickerson.
City Registrar Cindy Barbour presented those three officials, as well as Gravely, with their certificates of election.