Maybe he seemed a little too eager to do this when he spoke before the council and told them he would handle it until they choose another judge. That was on November 16, 2010. More than 2 months ago!
Anyway, the field has been narrowed to 5 candidates and the municipal judge committee (that may not be the official name of the committee) will narrow the field down to 3 and the final vote is expected to occur on February 1 at the city council meeting.
Of the remaining candidates only one meets all the qualifications as described by Judge Roebuck and former Judge Verin.
Judge Verin suggested that her replacement be someone who has (1) practiced law, (2) has a passion for the job, including domestic violence, (3) have certain qualities, i.e. honesty, integrity, dignity and respect. Judge Roebuck agreed and added that a judge should have a vested interest in the city and in the community. Both Judge Roebuck and Judge Verin live in the city of Bessemer.
(1) Kathryn (Sunny) Lippert currently practices law in Bessemer.
(2) She has a passion for the job, and I know that because I understand how she immerses herself in her work as an attorney, and I know this would carry over into her work as a judge. In addition, I have visited her in her office and she is already exploring ways the financing and administration of the court could be improved. And she's not even appointed yet.
(3) Sunny is well known in the community and is respected both professionally by other attorneys and court officials, and by her neighbors and fellow citizens of Bessemer as well.
I'm pretty sure that she is the only candidate who actually lives in Bessemer. She has invested in our city by purchasing and restoring a historic office building downtown. While that is not a rigid requirement, it does help satisfy Judge Roebuck's recommendation that a municipal judge should have vested interest in the community.
Sunny Lippert is currently the president of the Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association, an organization that works to improve the community. Projects Sunny has been recently involved with or supportive of are restoring historical signs in Bessemer and the Jonesboro community garden. In this photo, taken in November 2010, Sunny is participating in our garden workday.
She also works with troubled teens in a program that attempts to steer them back into a productive role.
Sunny is truly an asset to our community. None of the other candidates come close to doing for our city what Sunny Lippert does.
And without a doubt, she is the most qualified, by every standard, for the position of Municipal Judge in Bessemer.