“I’m just ready to get to work.”
Before he could take the oath, the city council had to vote on both an amendment to the Roswell Code of Ordinances and a resolution establishing the city judge’s compensation.
Both received unanimous approval.
The approved resolution sets the chief judge’s compensation at $275 per session, with access to the city’s group benefits plan. The compensation for “fill-in” judges would also be set at $275 per session, but without group benefits access.
Councilwoman Betty Price aired concerns about Hansford’s schedule conflicting with his role as Milton’s chief judge. “It’s hard for a person to be two places at once,” she said.
On Mondays, Hansford said he will sit on the bench for morning sessions in Roswell, while Judge Don Schafer will preside over the court’s evening sessions.
“I serve on Wednesdays and also preside on Fridays at custody hearings, unless my absence is necessitated by an appearance elsewhere as an attorney,” Hansford said.
Previously, Hansford said the city was spending an average of $14,000 a year to cover municipal court judge absences. Under the new per-session compensation model, he said the city would never again bill a judge for sessions he or she did not preside over.
“When the dates are missed, we will then have to hire fill-ins, but it will not cost us any extra,” Mayor Jere Wood said. “If the chief judge is not available, the cost is deducted from his compensation, so there is no additional compensation.”
Councilman Kent Igleheart commended Hansford for coming up with the per-session compensation plan. Councilman Jerry Orlans also said the model would benefit Roswell.
“When you look at the surrounding cities,” he said, “they’re running $450, $475 or more per session.”
After the resolution was approved, Wood led an official swearing in ceremony within Roswell City Hall’s council chamber.