published Friday, March 1st, 2013

Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge selection near

Lawyers wishing to be considered to replace Juvenile Court Judge Suzanne Bailey will be able to toss their names in the hat this month — and whoever is chosen may be in the job before the sitting judge leaves.

Bailey announced in February that she would retire April 30. It's up to Hamilton County commissioners to appoint a successor to fill the remainder of her term, which ends in December 2014.

Commission Chairman Larry Henry said Thursday during a recessed Feb. 20 meeting that applications would be accepted between March 11 and 4 p.m. March 20.

Public candidate interviews will begin April 3 and may continue into the next day if many apply, Henry said.

Last week, Henry planned to hold the process off until April, but he said Thursday that Bailey persuaded him to move sooner on the selection.

He said this will be an exception to the commission's usual rule of not making appointments until vacancies open.

"Judge Bailey felt like it would be an advantage if this appointment was made ... to have this person put in place a few days or maybe a week or two before they actually were sworn in," Henry said.

So far, only four people have approached commissioners for the appointment: Juvenile Court Magistrate Troy McDougal and attorneys Curtis Bowe, Rob Philyaw and Ron Powers.

Commissioners appoint people to fill vacancies in constitutional offices when elected officials retire or resign. In some cases, the governor appoints replacements. Whoever is appointed to Bailey's position will have to run for election in November 2014 to keep the seat.

"We don't relish appointments, but it's a task we have to undertake when there's a vacancy that's going to occur," Henry said.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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