The process to replace Juvenile Court Judge Suzanne Bailey will begin sooner than previously planned, allowing commissioners more time to vet hopefuls.
Hamilton County Commission Chairman Larry Henry said Tuesday the commission will begin accepting applications "in the next couple of weeks." Earlier, he had said the process would start April 1.
Bailey announced early this month she would retire April 30. Commissioners will appoint a new judge to finish Bailey's term, which ends in December 2014.
Several commissioners wanted the search to start earlier, and Henry said the commission would begin taking applications in March. He said he hopes to have interviews started by the first week in April.
So far, the commission has heard from four attorneys interested in the position: Juvenile Magistrate Troy McDougal and lawyers Curtis Bowe, Rob Philyaw and Ron Powers.
McDougal has served as a magistrate under Bailey since 2002. Prior to that, he had a private practice in Hamilton County after graduating from University of Tennessee College of Law in 1998.
Bowe was appointed by Bailey to serve the court from 2004 to 2008, and later started his own practice. Bowe graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1994.
Philyaw has practiced law in Juvenile Court for more than a decade, but has not been appointed to serve in the court. He graduated in 2001 from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
Powers earned his law degree from University of Memphis in 1991. Since then he has worked at three law firms -- one in Cleveland and two in Chattanooga -- before starting his own practice this month.