A familiar face will be taking over the leadership of the Franklin County Attorney’s office.
Brandon Jones, who has been the Osage County attorney since 2007, was selected by the Franklin County Republican Convention Wednesday night in the old county courtroom. Jones garnered 15 votes, while Frederick L. Meier II picked up six votes. Meier is a defense attorney in Emporia and a former prosecutor in Miami and Franklin counties for 11 years. He also served as deputy county attorney in Franklin County.
Jones, who succeeded Stephen Hunting, who resigned effectively Monday, was appointed Osage County Attorney by the Osage County Republican Central Committee to fill an unexpired term in April 2007. He was elected county attorney in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 and 2016. He also was elected Anderson County county attorney in 2016.
Jones was nominated by John Coen, Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.
“He’s had experience in Osage City,” Coen told the Republican committee members. “I can’t think of anybody better suited to represent us — our morals, our values of Franklin County citizens. It is a great honor to place before you the name of Brandon Jones as the next county attorney of Franklin County.”
Jones began his prosecution career in the Franklin County attorney’s office working for Larry Wright, the county attorney at the time.
“I have never looked back, Jones said. “I have the [most] professional experience that makes me the most qualified for the position. I have been practicing law for 18 years. I am a professional prosecutor. That is the reason I went to law school. This is my true calling.”
Jones told the committee members he is committed to the Fourth Judicial District, which consists of Franklin, Anderson, Coffey and Osage counties.
“I have lived all but five years in this judicial district,” he said. “I born and raised in Osage County in Lyndon. I graduated from high school there. I have practiced all but four years in this judicial district.”
Jones said the law community in this district knows him.
“They have seen my work,” he said. “I feel like I have built a good reputation with law enforcement throughout the district.”
Jones moved to Ottawa in 2005 and became a part of the community.
“This is where I built a home to raise a family,” Jones said. “I am not a bedroom commuter. I became extremely involved in this community.”
Jones was an Optimist Club member. Jones said he was a member of the Westminister church and chaired the committee to select a new pastor.
He was a former president of the Ottawa School Board.
“I am extremely involved in the community,” he said. “I was a graduate of the Franklin County Leadership class. I have coached softball and my son’s basketball team. This is my home. I have earned a good reputation in this community.”
Meier began his prosecution career in Miami County and worked there for seven years. He later moved to Franklin County to serve under Wright.
Meier has been a resident of Ottawa since 1998.
“I made a commitment to this town,” he said. “Family is important to me and Franklin County is as well.”
Meier, who has been practicing in Emporia for the past 17 years, said he started looking recently for opportunities to return to Ottawa.
“I would consider coming back home for district judge and county attorney,” Meier said. “District judge position will not come up for another four years and this came available now. What I can commit to — if I am selected as county attorney — I want to stay until I retire. I want this to be my last job. This is my town. This is my passion.”
Meier said being both a defense attorney and a prosecutor gives him a different prospective.
“Based on my experiences, I am able to look at the full picture of a case,” he said. “I will present myself as a full-time prosecutor. I know the commitments. I am ready to come home and represent you.”
Jones will tender his resignation as Osage County attorney on Thursday and remain the Anderson County county attorney until his term expires in 2020. Jones expects to take over the reigns of the Franklin County attorney’s office in early November, succeeding interim county attorney Michael R. Serra.