After two decades of serving at the helm of Erath County finances, James Young is retiring as county auditor.

Young said his last official day, Dec. 31, will also mark the 20th anniversary of his courthouse career.

Young was appointed to the post by District Judge Donald Jones in 1990, and continued to receive the appointment to the two-year term until recently announcing his plan to focus on his private accounting practice.

Young is one of five partners in Boucher Morgan & Young, a Stephenville-based accounting practice which has also opened offices in Dublin and Granbury.

While Young said his career was a "really great experience," he said business at BMY's Granbury has " just exploded," especially in his end of the business, estate and trust planning.

"That is what I really enjoy," Young said, referring to estate tax planning and wealth transfers. "There is currently a great need for what I do."

With the growth of his private partnership, Young said he knew it was time to close the chapter on his county duties.

"Erath County needs an auditor with more time to spend at the courthouse," Young said, adding that Jones has already approved the hiring of his replacement, Janet Martin.

Martin is a familiar face in county offices, and was hired to assist District Attorney Jason Cashon in forensic audits relevant to the criminal cases against former business partners David Cheatham and Paul Lansford.

"I believe that everyone at the courthouse was impressed with her work ethic," Young said. "I recommended Janet, and I am glad to say that I am retiring at a time when I can leave the office in the care of someone with her skills and abilities. She will do a great job in serving as an internal auditor for the county." 

As he prepares to hang up his hat, Young said he is walking away with one hope.

"I hope I will leave the county in better (fiscal) shape than it was in when I came to office," Young said. "I hope I helped in improving upon the county's management in ways that will have a positive impact well into the future." 

While Young said he clocked about 1,000 hours per year on the county payroll, Erath County Judge Tab Thompson said Young's impact is without limit.

"There is no way that we could thank James enough for what he has done for Erath County," Thompson said. "He has provided leadership in so many areas that go far beyond his duties as county auditor. James has been a visionary and a progressive leader."

Thompson said in addition to other management improvements, Young set into motion all of the policies and procedures the county currently uses for budgeting and purchasing.

"Most importantly, he instilled fiscal responsibility far beyond what was in place prior to becoming auditor," Thompson said. "Beyond his professional achievements, James has a love for our county that adds a whole other dimension to his public service. Today, too many individuals get elected or appointed and their job becomes all about them. For James, it has been about what he can do for the citizens of Erath."