Interest high in selection of new East Fork justice

With minimum job requirements and a salary that tops out at almost $120,000 a year, selection of the next East Fork Justice of the Peace is expected to draw a flood of applicants.

Douglas County commissioners have been charged with finding a successor to Judge Jim EnEarl who announced his resignation from office effective Aug. 6.

Commissioners will begin recruiting for the position after officially accepting EnEarl's letter of resignation which they are expected to do at their July 15 meeting.

Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Aug. 20.

County Manager T. Michael Brown said Thursday that in the interim between EnEarl's resignation and the appointment of a new judge, court duties would be taken over by a judge pro tem.

That duty regularly is performed by Constable Paul Gilbert, but the court has a list of temporary judges from which to choose.

"In selecting Judge EnEarl's replacement, we'll be following the same process used to fill the vacancies created by the resignations of (Clerk-Treasurer) Barbara Griffin and (Recorder) Werner Christen," Brown said.

Human Resources Manager Darcy Worms will post a recruitment announcement and set a deadline for applications which will be reviewed by commissioners who pick the new judge.

While the successful candidate gets the job without the rigors of an election, the new judge faces voters in 2012 when EnEarl's six-year term expires.

To be considered for the judgeship, the applicant must be 18, a resident and qualified voter in East Fork Township with a high school diploma or equivalent.

The only other requirement to be East Fork justice of the peace is that the candidate never faced discipline resulting in removal or retirement from judicial office.

The salary for the justice of the peace is $88,247.74-$118,580.80 per year.

The new judge does not have to be a lawyer, or even a college graduate.

Traditionally, in East Fork, the justice of the peace has come from law enforcement.

EnEarl, 65, was elected in 1994 after 19 years with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and 11 years as a deputy in Orange County.

His predecessor, Judge Doug Struthers, also took office after several years with the sheriff's office.


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