Forks to have a new appointed District Court judge by New Year’s

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County intends to appoint a new judge for the District Court in Forks before New Year’s Day.

County officials Monday launched an aggressive recruitment process to replace outgoing Clallam County District Court 2 Judge Erik Rohrer.

Rohrer was elected to the Superior Court bench this month. He will replace retiring Superior Court Judge Ken Williams when he is sworn in during the first week of January.

The appointed judge for District Court 2 can live anywhere in the county.

However, he or she must reside on the West End to run for election when the position goes back on the ballot in 2014.

County Human Resources Director Marge Upham said the recruitment window will close Dec. 7.

A committee comprised of County Administrator Jim Jones, District Court 1 Judge Rick Porter and Human Resources Director-to-be Rich Sill will screen the applicants and conduct preliminary interviews the week of Dec. 17.

The committee will recommend three candidates to the Board of County Commissioners, which will conduct final interviews and appoint the judge sometime between Dec. 17 and Dec. 21.

The new judge will begin orientation when county offices reopen after Christmas Dec. 26 ,and “be ready to go on one-to-one,” Upham said.

“This is a very aggressive schedule, trying to get this all done for the beginning of the year,” Upham said at a Monday work session of the commissioners

Rohrer, 54, has served as the county’s West End District Court judge for nearly 12 years. He was appointed in January 2001 and elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Rohrer defeated Clallam County Hearing Examiner Chris Melly in the general election contest for Superior Court judge with 55.7 percent support.

He will join Judges George L. Wood and S. Brooke Taylor on the Superior Court bench in Clallam County, which adjudicates felony crimes and juvenile, family and drug court matters.

Upham, who herself is retiring at the end of January, said the District Court judge position will be advertised in local newspapers. Potential candidates have already expressed an interest in the position, she added.



In other board discussion Monday, commissioners said they would support a contract supplement with the state Department of Transportation reducing the cost of the Owl Creek pedestrian underpass from $480,000 to $430,100.

The $49,900 reduction is the result of reduced match from Clallam Transit because of the use of state toll credits and a low bid for the U.S. Highway 101 widening project between Port Angeles and Sequim.

Clallam Transit’s new match is $14,900.

The state last week awarded a $27.07 million bid to Kent-based Scarsella Bros. Inc., to build a four-lane highway on the 3.5-mile, two-lane stretch of Highway 101 between Kitchen-Dick and Shore roads. The pedestrian underpass near Kitchen-Dick Road is part of the broader highway widening project.

The Scarsella Bros. construction bid was nearly $7 million less than the state estimate.

The three commissioners will consider approving the supplement with Transportation when they meet today.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 26. 2012 6:17PM
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