It was the final item on the agenda, but it was also one that garnered enough interest to keep everyone in the Carbon County Commission Chambers on the edge of their seats through the meeting.
Carbon County Commissioners went into closed session to choose between two recommended candidates to replace retiring Justice Court Judge Elayne Storrs. When the commission resumed the meeting, it named Attorney Jon R. Carpenter to replace Storrs. Attorney David M. Allred was the other choice for consideration for the appointment.
To fill this vacancy, the commission formed a nominating committee to recommend names for consideration. The nominating committee composition is determined by statute. A county justice court nominating commission will be created when there is a vacant justice court judge position or when a new position is created. Membership of the county justice court nominating commission include:
1. One member appointed by the county commission if the county has a commission form of government
The county executive if the county has an executive-council form of government
2. One member appointed by the municipalities in the counties as follows:
-If the county has only one municipality, appointment shall be made by the governing body of that municipality; or
-If the county has more than one municipality, appointment shall be made by a municipal selection committee composed of the mayors of each municipality in the county
3. One member appointed by the county bar association:
-If there is no county bar association, the member shall be appointed by the regional bar association. If no regional bar association exists, the state bar association shall make the appointment.
4. Two members appointed by the governing authority of the jurisdiction where the judicial office is located.
The committee was comprised of Attorney John Schindler, Price City Human Resource Director John Daniels, Attorney Don Torgerson, Carbon County Human Resource Director Rose Barnes and Attorney Nick Sampinos. They were tasked to comprise a list of recommendations.
The list was presented to the local government executive, who is the lead county commissioner. That is currently Commissioner John Jones, who made the selection. The statute requires the local legislative body, which is Jae Potter and Casey Hopes, to confirm the appointment by vote. The nominating committee provides information on the candidates but could not make any recommendations about the choice.
This is a big change for the local justice courts. Storrs was appointed to the Carbon County Justice Court in 1991 and to the Wellington City Justice Court in 1993. She has decided to retire in May.