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Municipal Judge Report on Roswell Council Agenda

The issue will be discussed at a Monday work session, followed by a regular business meeting.

A report laying out options for the future of Roswell's Municipal Court Judge will be presented at the Roswell Mayor & Council work session Monday. 

The work session (full agenda packet here) begins at 5:30 p.m. in Room 220 of City Hall, 38 Hill Street, followed by a regular business meeting at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers. 

The report, compiled by Ted Baggett of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, was commissioned by the Mayor & Council last fall following the resignation of longtime city judge Maurice Hilliard. 

Roswell and Atlanta are the only cities in Georgia that elect municipal judges. Alpharetta switched from an elected to an appointed system in 2011, and some Roswell council members have expressed an interest in doing the same, which would require a change in the city charter.

The council has approved a special city judge election for May if it decides not to switch. On Monday's regular council agenda is an action item that would set qualifying fees for the special election.

Baggett concluded in his report (pp. 3-10 at this link) that "local expert experience all weigh towards appointing rather than electing municipal court judges."

However, he said, if "appointed judges become subject to political interference by the city government, they will not be fulfilling the proper role of the judicial branch in serving the public."

Also at Monday's business meeting is the first reading of an ordinance to create a Unified Development Code map (pp. 40-42). This is part of the continuing process of adopting the UDC. 

A special called work session has been scheduled for Wednesday, and a second public design guidelines workshop has been added for Feb. 5. 

Another item for action (pp. 31-40) would prohibit the Mayor & Council from giving direction to city employees, and does not allow them to “reprimand, rebuke, reproof or scold” staff.

Mayor Jere Wood explained the reasons for wanting a rules of conduct policy with the Roswell Neighbor, saying the intent is to "foster an environment of civility and effectiveness."

Here's a quick summary of the other items on Monday's regular meeting agenda. 
Lee Fleck January 27, 2014 at 10:36 AM
And Ms Parker highlighted the key issue noted in the report "appointed judges become subject to political interference by the city government, they will not be fulfilling the proper role of the judicial branch in serving the public". The existing Council and the City’s legal department were beside themselves when X-Judge Hilliard kept throwing out Roswell's attack on Andrew Wordes, AKA the Chickenman who was driven to take his life because of the city's incessant harassment. And when the City of Roswell could not influence the ELECTED municipal judge (who ordered the city to provide Mr. Wordes legal counsel for any further criminal actions initiated by the city) Roswell’s legal department filed a civil suit against our local hero - an action never taken against a citizen of Roswell by the city’s legal department in the history of the Roswell. As for the rules of conduct it would appear Comrade Wood is circling the wagons real tight. Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

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