Judge Tim Brock

Applications have been picked up for Judge Tim Brock’s seat as the Coffee County Commission continues to discuss what the next step should be in filling the position after the judge’s sudden passing earlier this month.

The applicants who have picked up papers include Jason Huskey, Stacy Lynch and Jason Ponder, all Republicans.  They are all attorneys who have yet to file their papers to be qualified for the March primary ballot. To qualify to the applicants must get signatures from registered Coffee County voters and return the completed petitions to the election office.

The legislative committee met Wednesday to talk about what the procedure is when appointing someone to a judge’s seat. 

Commissioner Michael Ray said appointing a judge under these circumstances is uncharted waters for them as it hasn’t been done before. The last judge to be appointed was appointed by Governor Bill Lee.

Richard Brooks, chairman of the Coffee County Republican Party, was in attendance to talk to the committee directly to ask what the procedure for appointing a judge was and if there were names in mind for an interim judge.

Ray made clear that he wasn’t interested in hearing names and speculation. He would rather focus on the process and see who applies, review their applications and talk to the applicants in person.

Brooks asked if it was possible if the application for the judge seat had an option that says the applicant would only fill the spot temporary until the election, so the seat can have a judge. 

Brooks said appointing a judge was not a partisan decision and provided a list of attorneys who could serve the seat temporarily as interim judge.

When asked what the procedure is for appointing a judge during public comment, Commissioner Helen Debellis said it was agreed for anyone who wanted to apply for any office position, the applicants had to fill out their papers and submit it by the deadline Dec. 12.

Ray said once the applications were in Mayor Gary Cordell would review the applications.  After deciding who met the qualifications, the applicants will be contacted and ask to meet with the commission directly. 

Since the seat is a county-wide position, there will be no need for the applicants to meet with the rural caucuses like district commissioner seats would need to do.

When reached out for comment, Cordell said right now they are going to take it slow and wait to see who applies for the seat in the 2020 election before Dec. 12.  Depending on the number of applicants, they may decide not to vote for an interim judge and have a judge voted in during the primaries and election.

If anyone is interested in applying for the judge’s seat for the upcoming election must apply and file their paperwork by Dec. 12 at noon.

Kyle Murphy may be reached at kmurphy@tullahomanews.com.

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