A farewell gathering was held Friday for District Attorney Richard Smothermon, who has spent the past 16 years serving District 23, which includes Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties.

A farewell gathering was held Friday for District Attorney Richard Smothermon, who has spent the past 16 years serving District 23, which includes Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties.

With a new district attorney taking office on Monday, Smothermon, along with 33 employees who are leaving jobs at the office, spent Friday saying their goodbyes, making it a bittersweet afternoon for all of them.

“It has been the greatest 16 years of my life,” Smothermon said about his role as district attorney, commenting he's seen both “incredible high points and some deep low points” while on the job.

As his term in office has been drawing to a close, Smothermon said he's spent the past two weeks thinking about many of the cases he has prosecuted. While many remember high profile cases, such as the Kelsey Smith Briggs child abuse death, he remembers many others, especially those for the victims he fought so hard to get justice.

With 100 cases tried and the victims he has helped, Smothermon believes he's done a lot of really good things for some really good people, and he's proud of that.

Once he leaves office, he knows he'll miss two things — the people he's worked with and being in the courtroom, where Smothermon was known for his powerful closing arguments at trial.

“When I'm in trial, it's like nothing else matters,” he said, remembering some of the memorable trials and closing arguments in various cases over the years.

But the core of what he'll miss is those he's worked with on this 16-year journey.

“I don't think people realize how great this courthouse is....and how truly everyone wants to see Pottawatomie County a better place,” he said.

Smothermon said he's made some mistakes, although unintentional, over the years, but he learned from them. And with decisions made, Smothermon said he's given the job everything he could and believes it turned out well.

As he leaves office, Smothermon said the financial and exit audits have been completed with everything accounted for, while the budget is in good shape for the incoming district attorney, Allan Grubb.

Smothermon did not seek a fifth term and Grubb won the Nov. 6 election by defeating Smothermon's first assistant, Adam Panter.

Smothermon said he wishes Grubb luck and success.

Although he'll no longer be district attorney, Smothermon, who began the quest for Pottawatomie County to have a Family Justice Center, will stay on the FJC Board of Directors, which Grubb agreed with, he said.

He said Grubb shares his belief that family justice centers help victims of violence and abuse and indicated he plans to continues its operation.

Despite the farewell gathering for Smothermon and outgoing staff, it was fitting that Smothermon spent the last part of Friday in a Pottawatomie County courtroom to handle a preliminary hearing.

Grubb officially takes office as district attorney on Monday, Jan. 7 and will be busy in his first days, he said, tasked with filling nearly 40 positions in the office.

He said Tanya Roland will serve as his First Assistant.

Watch for updates and future stories about Grubb as he takes office as district attorney.