After over a month of waiting, the Jellico Mayor and Aldermen voted on and appointed a municipal judge at Wednesday’s special-called meeting.
After a brief discussion and a motion from Mayor Forster Baird, the council voted Charles Herman as Jellico’s new municipal judge.
Five people had applied for the position, with one dropping out, according to Baird. Of the four remaining candidates, Herman had the most experience and received the highest marks during the interview process, according to members of the board.
Vice Mayor Mike Johnson disagreed with the appointment and questioned whether there would be issues regarding Herman being a public defender.
“My only problem with Charles Herman is he works at the public defenders office; what if he defends someone for a court case and then they come up here and commit a traffic violation?” Johnson asked.
Town attorney Terry Basista told Johnson that there was a technical answer to that question.
“It might be a conflict, but under the Court Reform Act, any municipal judge can set in for another judge, so if this issue arose, it would probably be someone from Caryville, Jacksboro or LaFollette who would sit in for him,” Basista answered, explaining that it was a rare possibility, but one with a solution already worked out.
When it came to a vote, board member Darrell Byrge and Johnson both voted no to appointing Herman as Judge.
“Each candidate was rated individually based upon the interview questions; so who was the top tally getter?” Mike Smith asked before casting his tie-breaking vote. When council members answered it was Herman, Smith cast his vote.
“Based on the interview process and the results, I vote yes,” Smith said.
During the meeting, the board also held second readings on several ordinances, finishing preparations to set the municipal court in motion. The Mayor said he anticipates the court system to be established by the end of the month.