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By CATHY DYSON
Eric A. Gregory was perfectly happy in Powhatan County, where he'd been the county attorney since February 2011.
But when an associate encouraged him to check into a job opening in King George County, Gregory was intrigued.
"The more I learned about King George, the more interested I became," he said.
The 40-year-old applied and was hired last week as King George's new county attorney. He'll start Feb. 11 and will earn $120,000 a year.
He is the first person to hold the position full time.
Gregory, who earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Richmond, said he regretted leaving Powhatan, where the community embraced him and his family. But he considers the move to King George "a career advancement, a step up."
Gregory replaces Matt Britton, who announced suddenly in August that he was leaving to work in private industry. Britton spent 13 years as both the county attorney and commonwealth's attorney and suggested the county position had grown enough to merit full-time status.
The Board of Supervisors agreed and began the search. Members named Jeffrey Gore, with the Richmond firm of Hefty & Wiley, the temporary attorney.
Gore is the one who encouraged Gregory to apply for the job. The two know each other through the Local Government Attorneys Association.
The county heard from nine applicants, all from Virginia, and interviewed four of them, said County Administrator Travis Quesenberry.
Supervisors praised Gregory's solid legal background and knowledge of issues that affect local government.
"Everything I could see in him was very professional," said Supervisor Cedell Brooks Jr. "He'll be an asset to the community."
Chairman Dale Sisson Jr. said, "He brings a lot of energy to the table."
Gregory had done his research. When asked last week about his reasons for coming to King George, he said the county has a lot going for it. He mentioned the active Economic Development Authority and the Service Authority, the Birchwood Power Facility and the Navy base at Dahlgren.
He also cited the King George Landfill.
"A lot of people would not consider that an asset, but in my mind, I see it as an opportunity to provide revenue to the county so the county can provide services," Gregory said.
Before his work in Powhatan, Gregory served as assistant attorney general with the state and as an associate attorney with the Richmond firm of Morris and Morris.
He is a Richmond native who's also served on a number of boards and councils, ranging from the Virginia State Bar to the Powhatan Free Clinic.
Gregory also was in the Sorenson Institute Political Leaders Program at the University of Virginia. The program provides training for those "with a passion for politics and public service," according to its website.
Gregory and his wife, Allison, have two preschool-age sons. She teaches at the VCU School of Nursing in Richmond, and the couple hasn't decided if they'll stay in Richmond or move closer to the Fredericksburg area.
The Board of Supervisors said Gregory doesn't have to live in King George County.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425