East Fork justice of the peace applications due Friday

Douglas County commissioners set a Friday deadline for completed applications for East Fork Township justice of the peace candidates.

Commissioners on Sept. 16 directed County Manager T. Michael Brown to tweak the formal application so it conforms to the regulations for the position in East Fork.

The board had a Clark County justice of the peace application as a template which required the applicant to be a lawyer.

Based on population, East Fork Township doesn't have the same regulation. The applicant must be at least 18 and a qualified elector, have a high school diploma or the equivalent, and be an East Fork Township resident for at least 30 days.

In addition, he or she may never have been removed or retired from office for judicial misconduct.

Commissioners received 36 letters resumes and letters of intent from people interested in being appointed to fill out the remaining two years of Judge Jim EnEarl's term.

EnEarl, justice for 15 years, resigned Aug. 6.

The applications have been mailed or e-mailed to all candidates.

Brown said District Judge Dave Gamble has agreed to assist with the screening process.

"Based on the recommendations I am getting, this is turning into a popularity contest," said Commissioner Greg Lynn. "This ain't glee club."

The board asked for a committee to recommend five candidates for consideration by Oct. 22. That date was selected so the applications can be included in the information for the board's Nov. 4 meeting when the new justice is to be appointed.

Brown said the committee screening applications would be subject to the open meeting law.

The committee has not been selected, and Brown asked to be excluded.

"I don't think I am qualified," he said.

Chairman Mike Olson suggested the committee include some members outside the county.

Commissioner Doug Johnson said he didn't want the selection committee to prioritize their choices.

"Just present the candidates," he said.

The successful appointee will face election to a six-year term in 2012.

The board also set the salary range at $88,254.40 to $118,580.80. Originally, the salary was set at $103,417.60, but the board chose to encompass a salary scale to reflect the new judge's experience.

The board asked Brown to survey justice salaries in surrounding counties.

Justice of the peace and constable are the only elected officials' salaries set by county commissioners.

Senior Justice of the Peace Steven D. McMorris is filling in as interim judge. McMorris, an attorney, was elected Tahoe Township justice from 1981-2001 and is a former Douglas County district attorney.

Commissioners renewed his monthly contract of $9,881.73 for another 30 days.


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