published Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Hamilton County commissioners to query magistrate applicants

Hamilton County Courthouse
Hamilton County Courthouse
Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

APPLICANTS

Qualified judicial commission applicants:

• Senitria Cloud, Charlotte, N.C.

• Alisha Baker, Ooltewah

• Jason Fisher, Signal Mountain

• Jeffery Davis, Hixson

• Sequoia Humphreys, Nashville

• Loni Hodge, Albuquerque, N.M.

• Richard Pettit, Lookout Mountain

• Michelle Holland, Knoxville

• Amanda Smith, Chattanooga

• Nathaniel Goggans, Chattanooga

• Katherine Pagnani, Chattanooga

• Jennifer Wade, Hermitage, Tenn.

• Robert Davis, Chattanooga

• David Lawrence, Chattanooga

• Melvin Werner, Salisbury, N.C.

• Latosha Powell, Ooltewah

• Larry Ables, Hixson

• Anna Adams, Ooltewah

• Ron Powers, Ooltewah

• Michael Raulston, Chattanooga

• Justin Woodward, Chattanooga

The federal government might be shut down, but Hamilton County elected leaders will be busy next week.

On Monday, commissioners will hear from 21 applicants seeking to become the next two county judicial commissioners, or magistrates. The next day, they will hold a rescheduled agenda meeting, and next Wednesday the county will host the Tennessee County Services Association.

Commissioner Marty Haynes, who leads the commission's Legal and Security Committee, said Wednesday that judicial commission applicants are set to be interviewed in two sessions -- and he hopes a second day will not be necessary because time will be tight.

"We are hoping to do about four an hour. We'll just have to see how it goes," Haynes said after the meeting.

Originally, 23 applicants applied, but Haynes said three of them did not meet the requirements. One applicant was not yet admitted to the Tennessee bar, and another was a janitor with no legal training.

"We were able to rules those out," Haynes said.

Larry Ables and Jeff Davis, who currently hold the one-year posts, have both reapplied for their jobs.

Judicial commissioners sign warrants for searches and felony arrests, appoint attorneys for defendants who can't afford legal aid, set bonds and assist Hamilton County courts.

The pay is $61,143 with benefits, and magistrates must be willing to work full time, all hours of the day.

Haynes said he hopes the new judicial commissioners will be selected at the Oct. 16 commissioner meeting. Those selected will serve until Oct. 31, 2014.

Commission Chairman Fred Skillern also hopes the interviews will only last one day.

"That will cause us to have our [agenda] meeting on Tuesday of next week," he said.

Mayor Jim Coppinger told commissioners that hosting the service association "a great opportunity for all of us to go look at some of the educational opportunities, awareness programs and to network with our counterparts in the other 95 counties."

The association is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that serves to connect the state's local governments.

Hamilton County hosts the group ever four years.

In other business commissioners:

• Accepted a continuation contract between the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and the state to fund a child support program. The contract is paid in part with a state grant, which required a $100,419 match from the county.

• Voted to accept a $285,000 grant from the U.S. Office of Violence Against Women to fund two two-year court coordinator positions in civil and criminal court. The grant will also pay for domestic violence legal training for clerks and judges.

• Agreed to pay $156,352 to Beaman Automotive Group for seven two-wheel drive pickup trucks and $24,415 to Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Columbia for one four-wheel drive truck. The trucks will be used by the county parks and highway departments.

• Approved a resolution to pay Bryan, Pendleton, Swats & McCallister $15,000 to value the county’s Other Post Employment Benefits Plan. The valuation is done biannually.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6481.

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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