published Friday, October 30th, 2009

Lasley out; Lloyd chosen as magistrate


by Matt Wilson
Audio clip

Larry Henry

Audio clip

Hamilton County Commission meeting - agenda

Audio clip

Hamilton County Commission meeting - recessed

In a close vote Thursday, Hamilton County commissioners voted to replace Judicial Commissioner Marty Lasley with attorney Jennifer Lloyd.

"I'd like to see (Ms. Lloyd) as one of the four," Commissioner Richard Casavant said during a meeting of the commission's Security and Corrections Committee.

Dr. Casavantsaid he was being positive about Ms. Lloyd rather than negative about Mr. Lasley, but some commissioners registered concern about comments Mr. Lasley made last week.

Of the nine commissioners, four voted to reappoint Mr. Lasley and five voted for Ms. Lloyd.

During last week's interviews with judicial commissioner candidates, Mr. Henry asked Mr. Lasley whether any improvements need to be made in the judicial commissioner, or magistrates, program. Mr. Lasley suggested streamlining processes and looking at personnel, including cutting a magistrate.

"The whole point of having the five (General Sessions) judges was to, really, so they could do this magistrate stuff, and now there's four of us on top of the five," he said. "I'm sorry, I just think to do that, it's too many."

Commissioner John Allen Brooks said he didn't want to break up the team of magistrates, but Mr. Lasley "was losing points as he continued to talk." Still, Mr. Brooks "reluctantly" voted in favor of Mr. Lasley.

Commission Chairman Curtis Adams said Mr. Lasley's comments "shocked all of us" and "that's not what you call a team player."

Mr. Henry said he also did not like what Mr. Lasley said, adding that commissioners cannot interfere in what judges do, as judges are elected separately.

Mr. Lasley said he had no hard feelings.

"It was a privilege and an honor to have served in that capacity," he said. "We serve at the pleasure of the Hamilton County Commission."

Still, Mr. Lasley said he didn't believe he said anything controversial. He said his two years in the magistrate position gave him a good chance to see police officers and other workers at work.

Mr. Lasley said he would return to a full-time law practice.

Ms. Lloyd could not be reached for comment.

The commission voted unanimously to reappoint Chief Magistrate Larry Ables and Magistrates Yolanda Mitchell and Bob Davis to one-year terms.

PDF: Water fee appeal process

HOW THEY VOTED

* For Lloyd: Commissioners Casavant, Coppinger, Henry, Hullander, Adams

* For Lasley: Commissioners Beck, Brooks, Mackey, Skillern

WHAT THEY DO

Judicial commissioners perform limited judicial duties such as setting bonds and signing warrants. They work mostly on nights and weekends, when Hamilton County General Sessions judges are not on the bench.

Online: Hear Commissioner Larry Henry discuss magistrate appointments. Comment.

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sideviews said...

Marty Lasley, who has witnessed the overstaffing among the judges and magistrates in General Sessions Court first hand, spoke up and told the truth even though it cost him his job. As the Times Free Press review of the judges showed last month, the typical General Sessions and City Court judge who is paid nearly $155,000 a year with a rich government benefit program spends less than three hours a day on the bench. Magistrates, who earn nearly $55,000 a year, often sit with nothing to do. Rather than look out for the taxpayers and take proactive action for efficiency, our county leaders once again were glad only that no was was complaining about magistate-set bonds. They ignored what Marty Lasley told them and the Times Free Press review of judges' activity demonstrated. We continue to overstaff our courts, don't take about merging city and county operations for efficiency and waste taxpayer money. I hope the Volkswagen people and their suppliers don't look to the courthouse to judge the work ethic or efficiency of our local community. If they see how our county leaders tolerate mediocrity and inefficiency, they will certainly want to locate elsewhere where community leaders and workers are more committed to hard work and efficiency.

October 31, 2009 at 1:17 p.m.
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