By Mary Drier
TUSCOLA COUNTY — While the governor has no interest in filling the vacant 54th Circuit judgeship in Tuscola County, at least one government entity is willing to offer some help.
Visiting judges have been filling in to keep the court’s docket moving since Patrick Joslyn retired in January.
“We have been incurring costs for visiting judges plus travel expense and lodging at times,” noted county Controller Mike Hoagland.
District Judge Kim Glaspie, who is the chief judge of the courthouse, and his staff have been coordinating the visiting judge’s schedules.
To help hear cases, several retired judges and sitting judges have been helping; and when possible, Glaspie and Probate Judge Amanda Roggenbuck have been helping in circuit court as their caseloads allow.
“In order for the business of the court to be conducted during this time, the State Court Administrative Office will be assigning both sitting and former judges,” said J. Bruce Kilmer the regional administrator for the Michigan Supreme Court – State Court Administrative Office for Region III.
While the state pays a judge’s salary, it is up to the county to pay for visiting judges.
“It is our understanding that your 2012 budget for visiting judges has been spent. Therefore, the SCAO (State Court Administrative Office) will be making the quarterly standardized payments to the county of $11,431 staring in May,” said Kilmer in a letter to commissioners.
“We will reevaluate the need for additional payments of $11,431 in August and November. These payments are to be used only for the expense of visiting judges during the period of the vacancy.”
The position will be open until January 1, 2013, when the new judge can take the oath of office.
During the coming election, voters will decide among four candidates who will be the next circuit judge because the governor won’t make an interim appointment.
Mary Drier is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.