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Judges making change
Two administrators will share duties
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Forsyth County News

As Forsyth County courts grow, the sitting judges are making a change in the administration model.

The courts will have an administrator split duties with a deputy administrator, instead of a sole position as it currently stands, said Chief Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Bagley.

The model would be like that of Hall and Gwinnett counties, also in the 9thJudicial District, which Bagley said have had offices for longer than Forsyth.

“It seems to work well for those circuits,” he said. “Basically, you’ve got two professionals — court administrator, deputy court administrator — it doesn’t put so much on the court administrator, but they are able to share a lot of duties.”

Bagley said several factors contributed to making the change now, including the growth in cases over the last several years, the addition of a third Superior Court judge in January and more accountability courts.

A new person will be hired for each position, since Forsyth County’s existing court administrator of four years, Dawn Childress, left in May.

Though officially an “involuntary separation,” Bagley said Childress took a position in DeKalb County as she left Forsyth.

The application deadline for a new administrator was last week, and a screening committee will begin selecting three to five people for the sitting judges to interview, Bagley said.

They hope to hire someone in September.

He foresees the administrator handling primarily planning duties, while the deputy would cover more of the day-to-day operations.

A deputy court administrator has been approved in the preliminary budget for 2014 at about $85,000 for both salary and benefits, offset by eliminating an administrative assistant position of about $55,000.

The circuit court administrator position was advertised with a salary between about $71,000 and $104,000, depending on experience.

Childress had been making about $80,000 per year as of her separation on May 10.