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Naming of third judge on the horizon

Washington County commissioners continued to discuss the voting process for the appointment of the third Sessions Court judge during the Dec. 3 meeting of the Legal Services Oversight Committee.
County Attorney John Rambo said the commission chair determines whether the vote will be by voice or ballot. A ballot vote would be signed, with the commissioner names and votes read aloud during the meeting by the county clerk.
“If it’s my opinion, I would have them call the roll (for a voice vote),” Chair Greg Matherly said. “You’re going to make some people happy and others won’t be, but we’re going by the rules.”
Commissioner George “Skip” Oldham asked how the nominations would be made. Mayor Dan Eldridge suggested displaying the list of applicants on a screen.
Attorneys applying for the position are Don Arnold, Ken Baldwin, Doug Carter, Steve Darden, Bill Donaldson, Michael Rasnake and Dan Smith.
“Commissioner will be coming in there thinking seven candidates, but there will more than likely not be seven nominations,” Eldridge said, referring to the called meeting scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, at 6 p.m.
Nominations will be accepted from commissioners and no second is required.
While commissioners have the option of nominating outside of the seven applicants, the Legal Services Oversight Committee has recommended only the candidates who have completed the application and interview process be considered.
“Do you feel like we have heard all we need from the candidates,” Chair Doyle Cloyd asked committee members. “Are we going to let them speak again, or start with the vote?”
Oldham noted allowing candidate comments could add anywhere from 35-70 minutes to the meeting.
Commissioner Mike Ford said everybody has had plenty of time, in his opinion, and Commissioner Gearld Sparks agreed.
“We’ve done everything we need to do to make a decision,” Sparks said.
Cloyd asked if the commission is fully clear on the time it will allow the elected judge to close his current practice.
Rambo said he is prepared to answer the question again if necessary.
“The rule of the Supreme Court allows six months,” he said.