County Commission Committee Recommends 2-Year Terms For Magistrates; To Advertise For 2 Openings After Pay Raise

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Commissioners Greg Beck, Tim Boyd, Jim Fields and Chester Bankston discuss magistrates
Commissioners Greg Beck, Tim Boyd, Jim Fields and Chester Bankston discuss magistrates

A committee of the County Commission has recommended that county magistrates have two-year terms, instead of one year, and for the commission to take applications on two open seats.

The commission will proceed with advertising for the two posts and make an official announcement next Wednesday. Applications will then be taken until May 8. The commission will interview candidates at the May 16 meeting. The selections will be May 30.

Chief Magistrate Randy Russell and Magistrate Brandy Spurgin Floyd have one-year terms that were set to expire at the end of this month. The commission on Wednesday gave them an extension to the end of May.

The commission in the past has generally given new terms to magistrates deemed to be doing a good job, but Commissioner Tim Boyd, who heads the security and corrections committee, said the pay increase adds a new factor.

He said, "We certainly could attract a different type of candidate."

Commissioner Greg Beck said, "We haven't been getting the cream of the crop. It's people who couldn't make it."

He also said that with the significantly higher pay level "we need more of a look-see at what they actually do."

Commissioners said they once got detailed quarterly reports in person from the chief magistrate, but have not gotten that in a couple of years or more. 

The commission recently voted to raise the pay from $65,000 to $80,000, with $4,000 annual raises after that until they reach $92,000. The chief magistrate gets 10 percent above that. The magistrates will be able to get county insurance and other benefits.

Commissioner Boyd said the move from one-year terms to two-year terms means the commission will only have to deal with the issue once a year instead of every six months. There are four magistrates. Under the present system, two of them come up for reappointment every six months since there are staggered terms.

He said, "We've got a pretty smooth working system right now. We've got a good team."

At the suggestion of Commissioner Jim Fields, the openings will be forwarded to the Chattanooga Bar Association for distribution to 900 local attorneys.

Commissioner Boyd recently recommended the pay raise, while noting that the magistrates can no longer practice any type of law. Previously, they could still have civil practices.

The full commission will conduct the interviews.

It was recommended that appointment of on-call "fill-in" magistrates will be on the recommendation of the chief magistrate, who will submit a resume to the security and corrections committee. That panel will then make a recommendation to the full commission. 

The magistrates set bonds and sign warrants at the county jail on Walnut Street. It is a round-the-clock operation.

 

 

 

 

 



U.S. House Passes National Defense Authorization Act

Rep. Tom Graves on Thursday voted for and the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5515), annual legislation that authorizes funding for the Department of Defense. “This bipartisan bill continues and strengthens President Trump’s plan to rebuild the military,” said Rep. Graves. “It also makes key investments that support Georgia’s contribution to our national ... (click for more)

Man Shot Thursday Morning When Suspects Attempted To Rob His Residence

Ryan Crowe, 22, was shot Thursday morning in the 600 block of Ashland Terrace, when suspects made entry into his residence and demanded money from him. A witness stated to police that while Mr. Crowe attempted to fight off the suspects, he was shot by one of them. The Chattanooga Police Department responded to a call about the shooting at 2:06 a.m. Thursday.  Upon arrival, ... (click for more)

Refuting Racism

In an opinion piece, 5/18/18, Rev. Josh Woodrow referred to me and my fellow School Board member, Joe Smith, as racists and white supremacists because we spoke out against busing. I have never met or spoken with Rev. Woodrow so he knows nothing about me. The reverend obviously knows nothing about Joe Smith either. Seems one of the reverend’s hobbies is “brewing beer”. Maybe, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Don’t Invent, Discover!’

When Randy Boyd stood in front of more than 75 black ministers in Memphis on Tuesday, the ever-dynamic “doer of deeds” told the pastors an exciting story. He talked about “First Things First” of Chattanooga because the Tennessee gubernatorial candidate is totally sold on what Julie Baumgardner and her team have proven keeps families together. Boyd then met with some representatives ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Rallies In 10th To Beat William Blount, 7-4, In Class 3A State Softball

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – In muggy humidity and searing heat, Ooltewah’s Lady Owls gutted out a heart-stopping 10-inning 7-4 victory over William Blount in the opening round of the TSSAA Class 3A state softball tournament Wednesday morning. The victory set up a showdown against Henry County about six hours later. Kayla Boseman, who went the distance against William Blount, ... (click for more)

Sellers Leads Baylor Past GPS In D-II Softball

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Baylor and GPS continued their softball rivalry here at the Starplex Field No. 3 Wednesday night, but this latest game wasn’t as close as some in the past. These two teams split their regular season games, but the three-time defending Division II-AA Lady Red Raiders won round three here in the winners bracket final. The score wasn’t as close as most with ... (click for more)