Paty Says City Judges Left Out Of The Loop On Revising City Court Section Of City Charter

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

City Judge Sherry Paty said she and Judge Russell Bean were left out of the loop by city officials on the process of revising the section on City Court in the city charter.

City Attorney Mike McMahan on Tuesday told the City Council that the section on City Court will be altered significantly since the city judges no longer have "Sessions Court jurisdiction" and can only levy $50 fines. But the city attorney said it will reflect "the way the court operates now."

He said the city judges were asked for input, "but we haven't heard from them."

The matter was approved by the City Council on first reading on Tuesday night. City officials said there will be a vote on second reading next Tuesday and the judges would have time to give input before then.

Judge Paty said she and Judge Bean got an email from Patrick Bobo in the city attorney's office the week before Thanksgiving about the issue. She said he wanted to set up a meeting, but she was not available Thanksgiving week.

She said she and Judge Bean notified him they could meet later.

Judge Paty said the next thing they heard was receiving a copy of the proposed changes by email on Tuesday from Ken Fritz.

She said, "It was on the same day it was presented to the City Council and voted on. As usual we were left out of the loop. Usually we find out about things after the fact.

"There was obviously no time for us to go over it adequately."

She said, "We aren't saying there shouldn't be changes. We just believe they should be gone over very carefully. If they wanted to get it on the ballot in March, they should have started this process much earlier."

The judge said, "We were never told that this was going to the council this soon or that it was being rushed to get it on the ballot March 5. Something this important that affects the citizens and those who work in the city departments deserves some careful consideration and not a rush job."


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