Just an observation to begin with.
It’s my experience that the computer age for telephone contact ushered in the perfect time for public servants who just despise dealing with the public.
It’s so much easier in this modern era to glance at an incoming call, prefer not to speak with the caller and let it go to voicemail.
Believe it or not, boys and girls, there was a time when one picked up a ringing phone without knowing who was calling.
Plus, the automated switchboard that advises one to push some number in hope of talking to a living soul also guards the public official from his or her real bosses.
Under Governor Jim Justice, we stand a better chance of actually talking to BabyDog than a real, live staff member.
When one calls the governor’s main switchboard, he or she is greeted with an array of possible numbers to punch — but no live voice.
I realize Covid is blames for depersonalizing communications just as its blamed for everything else.
Like several other journalists (I use the term lightly, especially in my case), I haven’t talked with a living Justice press person in months.
I’m reminded of all this by the fact that I’m about to report to you who is “rumored” to be candidates for a vacant circuit judge position.
Yes, I TRIED to contact the Governor’s press office to verify the list but got the usual recording with no return call.
Secrecy is not a friend of good government but, then, Justice is no friend of good government in general.
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Appointed boards, such as the Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission, cannot be faulted when the Governor’s office withholds what should be public information.
In the case of the JVAC, it’s an appointed board that gets enough grief without expecting them to be a public information agency.
Governor’s office excuses that the names aren’t instantly released because they’re “personnel matters” fall on deaf ears, too.
Maybe we shouldn’t list the candidates for Governor in the future. That’s a similar “personnel matter.”
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When Boone Circuit Judge Will Thompson became the Southern District U.S. Attorney, that created a judge vacancy in the 25th circuit. The district’s other judge, Jay Hoke of Lincoln County, remains on the bench.
Word on the streets of Madison are that four candidates have applied to replace Thompson. Justice makes the ultimate appointment after the JVAC interviews the applicants.
The rumored candidates are: Stacy Nowicki Eldridge, a state employee and wife of former Delegate Jeff Eldridge; Troy Adams, currently a public defender and former Boone Assistant Prosecutor; Mark Browning, a current Boone Assistant PA; and Cynthia Jarrell, a former Family Court Judge.
I’m told that interviews are scheduled and the circuit will soon have two judges again.
Just don’t count on the Governor telling you about it.