Council names interim judge
 
Jeremy Nash News-Herald.net
 
Lenoir City Council during a special called meeting Monday morning appointed an interim municipal court judge to serve until the August election following the death of longtime judge Terry Vann.
 
City Attorney Gregory Harrison reviewed the legal experience of three applicants before council tabbed Gary Fox for the position.
Fox, 67, retired in March 2015 after 43 years of practicing law. Unlike two other candidates considered for the temporary position, he had no intention of seeking the post in August.
 
Councilman Harry Wampler said he didnít want the public to think council was endorsing either of two candidates that sought the permanent position.
ďObviously, there are three candidates applying, and as Mr. Wampler said, we donít want to ó city council doesnít want to give the impression that weíre endorsing anyone,Ē Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens said after the meeting.
 
Aikens said he believed voters should have a say in who should take over for the remainder of Vannís term. Vann succumbed to cancer last month.
ďThe very important part is weíre giving people the choice, and itís a very important position, and itís going to be a seven-year give or take few months job,Ē Aikens said after the meeting. ď... I just want to give the people the opportunity to prove who they want to put in there. I donít think ó plus itís four months off. If it was a couple years off it may be different, but itís not. Itís four months off, and they should have that choice.Ē
 
Harrison said the other two candidates were Robin McNabb, an attorney who has been with Knoxville firm Wise & Reeves P.C. for eight years, and Porsche Shantz, who has an ďextensive history in the practice of law,Ē including serving as a staff attorney for the court of criminal appeals and court of appeals in Tennessee. Both are seeking the permanent position, in addition to Walter Johnson, who was not present at the meeting.
 
Fox served as an assistant district attorney general in the Ninth Judicial District, had a private practice in East Tennessee and served as an interim substitute at city court in Lenoir City and at Loudon County General Sessions Court.
 
Applicants had until April 7 to turn in resumes to Harrison.
 
ďIím just going to carry out the responsibilities of city judge and hold court and deal with disputes and accept the guilty pleas that have been negotiated and just do the same thing that city judge has done before,Ē Fox said after the meeting. ďIíve sat probably 10 or 12 times on various occasions in this court over the years for Judge Vann when (he) could not be available. ... I sat in a number of times for him. Plus, Iíve practiced in this court too. Iíve had clients in this court, too, so Iím familiar with it.Ē

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4/22/16