The county’s Policy and Personnel Committee had a busy agenda Tuesday night as committee members addressed issues related to judicial commissioners.
With the recent resignation of Gerald Rowland, the county is left with nine judicial commissioners. The committee decided in an earlier meeting to hire two part-time commissioners to replace Rowland.
Turnover of commissioners has been an issue for the committee, with persons resigning frequently, often for personal reasons. The job requires being on call for the entirety of their shift. While shift lengths vary and are somewhat variable, the job can still be difficult for a commissioner. Training new commissioners is a time-consuming process, so keeping turnover to a minimum is essential.
Said committee chairman Ken Martin, “We need to make sure it’s someone who is willing to stay with us.”
Ten applications were received. One late application was not included for consideration. Said Martin, “We have a cutoff time on applications. I had a lady who came into my office today to turn in an application. It’s not in this stack because the rules are that we cut it off at that time. She said she’d never seen the ad. There were letters mailed out to everyone who had put an application in before but she said she’d moved. That application is not in here. If you all feel like I need to go get it I will.”
Fellow committee members Carlene Brown, Wayne Copeland, Charles Morgan, and Tommy Savage agreed. Said Copeland, “If we start bending the rules now then it’s just going to get worse.”
Four applicants were selected to be interviewed. Candidates were reviewed on the basis of background and qualifications. Some individuals were removed from consideration out of location, availability, writing legibility and not filling out the application properly.
Applicants were rated individually by each committee member on a scale of 0-5, with 0 being the lowest score. The scores were combined and the top four applicants will be interviewed. Out of a possible 25, one applicant had a perfect score, with the other three to be interviewed scoring 20, 17, and 16.
Judicial commissioners are responsible for issuing criminal arrest warrants upon finding probable cause. During a probable cause hearing, they set bail and issue mittimus, which is paperwork that must be signed by a judicial commissioner when an individual is picked up and brought in by an officer. Along with being a Warren County resident, judicial commissioners must live within 15 minutes of the jail.
Interviews will be scheduled at a later date.
Another item on the agenda relating to judicial commissioners was adding a digital voice recorder to the existing video recorder in the commissioner office. Said Martin, “It’s not only protection for the ladies that come in there to get warrants written, but it’s for the protection of the commissioners, too. If someone says something to them that needs to be recorded, it definitely needs to be. A lot of times it’s just a one-on-one thing with no witnesses.”
The committee voted 5-0 to install the DVR as soon as possible.