published Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Hamilton County to begin search for judge

  • photo
    Hamilton County Commission Chairman Larry Henry leans back in his seat during a meeting in this file photo.
    Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Hamilton County Commission Chairman Larry Henry heard calls from five people interested in the Juvenile Court judge position that will be open on April 30, when current Judge Suzanne Bailey retires.

He wouldn't share the names, but confirmed that there's plenty of interest in the position.

News of Bailey's retirement first was reported Friday by the Times Free Press. Bailey issued a release confirming her retirement announcement Monday.

Henry said Monday he and fellow commissioners will advertise the position in coming weeks and begin the interview process.

Bailey won election to the post in 1990 after having worked the previous eight years as a court referee. Henry credited her care for the children and families who come before the court.

"I've known Judge Bailey for a number of years, she's got a real compassion for her work," Henry said.

Henry said the interview and appointment process could take several days, depending on how many people apply.

A simple majority, five of nine votes, would seal the appointment. But Henry said if there are 10 or more candidates there may be a series of votes that eliminate low or no-vote counts.

"I think this is kind of a unique judgeship," Henry said. "You're dealing with some real emotional issues there."

The appointee wouldn't take over until after Bailey leaves but would have a short amount of time on the job ahead of the May 2014 primary and August election.

The elected term is eight years, and the job pays a $156,000 annual salary.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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