City considering code change for second Municipal Court judge
Voters approved a change to the city charter during the November election and City Commissioners will consider a code amendment to reflect the change during their Dec. 6 meeting.
The city has been attempting to add a second Municipal Court judge for several years and it became necessary to amend the city charter to remove the “singular” limitation on the number of judges to all the creation of a new and additional elected judge position.
Over the summer, commissioners voted to send the charter amendment to the November ballot and voters approved the change.
During their Dec. 6 meeting, commissioners will consider an ordinance, that will be effective, Jan. 5, to establish two Municipal Court departments, with associated Municipal Court judge positions.
The proposed ordinance will also establish the appointment process of the vacant position, since the second position will need to be appointed until the November 2023 election, elected for a two year term at that election, and then subsequently on the normal and appropriately staggered four year term schedule in November of 2025, according to the city attorney’s office.
The proposed ordinance updates the city code to reflect two, rather than one, Municipal Court judge. The qualifications and regulations pertaining to both positions are the same, according to city staff.
The proposed change also removes all code language referencing an assistant Municipal Court judge position, which was established in 2019 but never filled.
Municipal Court Judge Steve Bolstad had intended to appoint someone to that position, but changes in state law made that position and appointment process moot.
Over the summer, commissioners adopted a budget that included a compensation package for a second Municipal Court judge to begin an appointed term in January 2023.