Suzanne Bailey plans to retire as Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge at the end of April.
County Commission Chairman Larry Henry said Judge Bailey called him to advise him of the retirement.
In her letter to the County Commission Chairman Judge Bailey said, “It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the children, families and citizens of Hamilton County for the past 30 years. As times change for the children of our community as well as our struggle to meet their needs, so has the time come for me to retire and pass the responsibility for the abused, dependent and delinquent coming through our court to the next generation. This is to advise of my retirement as Hamilton County Juvenile Judge effective April 30, 2013.
This should provide sufficient time for me to conclude cases I have already started as well as that needed by the Commission to receive applications, interview candidates and select a replacement for my position.”
Since it will be in mid-term, it will be up to the County Commission to appoint a successor to serve until the election in 2014.
Chairman Henry said Judge Bailey, 63, stated she will be focusing on clearing out her docket until the end of April.
He said she has some health issues and wants to be closer to her son, who lives in Mobile.
Chairman Henry said, "Judge Bailey will be sorely missed. Her shoes will be hard to fill. I don't know if they can be filled."
He said, "She has a real heart and passion for her job. It goes beyond the courtroom."
He added, "She is a fine person. I've known her for a long time. I knew her husband, and her son and my son went to Sewanee together. She swore me in the last three times."
A native of Columbia, Tn., Judge Bailey gained her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University. She obtained her law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1975, then came to Chattanooga to practice law. Juvenile Court Judge Dixie Smith appointed her a referee in Juvenile Court in 1982.
When Judge Smith retired, she ran for the post and was elected in 1990.
Juvenile Court Magistrates are Bruce Owens, Troy McDougal and Elizabeth Gentzler. Child Support Magistrates are Kathy Clark, Emma Andrews and Chris Gott.
The judge in Juvenile Court makes $156,789.