An application and deadline will likely be in place next week for the recently created Washington County Sessions Court judgeship.
The county’s Legal Services Committee will present the 12-page application for approval by the full County Commission Monday.
Committee Chairman Doyle Cloyd said there is an Oct. 1 deadline to apply.
“We’ll approve the application we’ve drafted on Aug. 27 and then we’ll start distributing them right then if it’s approved that night,” Cloyd said.
The application also will be available on the county’s website.
Once all applications are submitted, candidates will appear before the commission for an interview. Cloyd did not say when those interviews will be conducted, but whoever is selected would need time to close out their practice before starting the new position.
The position, officially titled Washington County Sessions judge, part III, will ease the growing case load on the two current judges, James Nidiffer and Robert Lincoln. There also will be new duties to divide among the three.
When the County Commission created the new position, it added environmental issues to the Sessions Court dockets.
Judges already hear juvenile, civil and misdemeanor criminal cases. Nidiffer and Lincoln have previously stated the three judges would divide all duties assigned to Sessions Court.
The application, which consists of 47 questions, is an extensive review of a candidate’s experience over their career as a licensed attorney, their willingness for officers to contact them after hours and if they would continue the current judge’s practice of volunteering time for Mental Health Court.
Other questions on the document ask about an applicant’s philosophy and approach to docket management, examples of legal briefs or other writings that reflect their work and if the county provides sufficient resources to manage Sessions Court.
There is also a request for an essay on why the applicant wants the job and another on how their selection would impact Sessions Court.
As of late Thursday, seven local attorneys had expressed some type of interest for the job, although only four have submitted something in writing.
The six, listed in alphabetical order by last name, include Dan Arnold, a private practice attorney in Johnson City; Ken Baldwin, an assistant district attorney general for the 1st Judicial District; Douglas Carter, a private practice attorney with an office in Johnson City; Suzanne Cook, a private practice attorney and partner with Hunter, Smith & Davis; Bill Donaldson, an assistant public defender for the 1st Judicial District; Janie Lindamood, a private practice attorney with an office in Johnson City; and Dan Smith, a private practice attorney with an office in Jonesborough.