Hamilton City Judge Michael Reardon has announced his intention to retire as soon as the City Council can appoint a replacement. At a City Council meeting on May 5, Mayor Farrenkopf was authorized to advertise the position at a starting salary of $60,000 plus benefits. Reardon indicated that he would resign as soon as a replacement could be found. A replacement is expected to be appointed by early July. A couple of applications have already been received. Reardon was recently re-elected as City Judge to a term that would expire on December 31, 2023.
At the council meeting, Councilor Pogachar said, “I thought the judge was happy with his new digs?” referring to city court’s location in the new judicial center building.
“Yes, the judge is a happy person but he did tender his resignation,” said Mayor Farrenkopf. “I didn’t ask him why. I figure he knows what he’s doing. He was happy as a judge. I think he still is happy as a judge, he’s just ready to move on. But he is a happy person.”
After reviewing all applications, the City Council will appoint a new judge who will serve until running for office in 2021. The Mayor proposed a schedule that would lead to an appointment some time in early July. According to Farrenkopf, the proposed appointment process and application materials have been modeled on the process used by the Judicial Nomination Commission in the appointment of district court judges, “which will ensure that the process is fair and objective and that the City can conduct its due diligence in ensuring the Council appoints the most qualified candidate.”
Hamilton municipal code requires that to be qualified a candidate must be licensed to practice law in Montana and have at least five years of experience in practicing law. Applications for the position will be accepted through May 20, 2020. This would be followed by a public comment period lasting to July 7, 2020. A selection committee established by the Mayor will review the applications and interview applicants and make a recommendation ranking the candidates hopefully by June 16, and the Council could appoint the new judge by July 7, 2020.
Anyone with questions about the process can call the City Clerk’s Office at 363-2101 ext. 230 or via email at [email protected]