A new Hillsboro Municipal Court judge has not yet been appointed to fill the vacancy created in the wake of the retirement of longtime judge David McKenna this past fall, according to a representative from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office and court employees.
According to a representative from municipal court, judicial duties at the court have been temporarily assumed by other judges from a list of potential assigned judges complied by the Ohio Supreme Court. They have reportedly included Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss, judge William McCracken, and Highland County Court Judge Robert Judkins.
McKenna’s most recent term for which he was elected, his fourth, was to expire in 2023.
According to the Ohio Secretary of State’s official publication, “The governor fills the vacancy by appointment and gives notice of such an appointment to the secretary of state.”
According to Rob Nichols of the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, “The governor’s office does have an arm that works to appoint and fill vacancies.”
Highland County Board of Elections Director David Tolliver explained that the Ohio Revised Code provides for a process by which a new judge is selected when a vacancy occurs in a municipal court.
According to Paulette Donley, executive chair of the Highland County Republican Party, three local candidates, attorneys Kathryn Hapner, Chad Randolph and James Roeder, have submitted applications for the judicial appointment which have subsequently been given to the governor’s office for further consideration. Donley said that it is still up to the governor’s discretion what happens next.
“We’re all anxiously waiting, as are the three candidates,” said Donley.
As of press time, no new judge had been named.
“We haven’t heard anything yet,” Hillsboro Municipal Court Clerk of Courts Julie Blair said.
Juliane Cartaino is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.