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Pierce County Council set to restore Superior Court seat

Post by David Wickert on April 20, 2010 at 9:19 am with 10 Comments »
April 20, 2010 5:14 pm

Update: The council unanimously – and without comment – reinstated the Superior Court seat this afternoon.


The Pierce County Council this afternoon is scheduled to formally reinstate the Superior Court it eliminated last November.

The council voted unanimously to eliminate the seat formerly held by Judge Michael Hecht. The move came just a day after Hecht announced his resignation. He previously was convicted of felony harassment and paying a man for sex.

The council cited the need for budget flexibility as it tried to balance the 2010 budget. It claimed state law gave it the discretion to determine the number of Superior Court seats in the county. The state pays half the salary and all of the health care benefits of Superior Court judges.

The council’s move drew a flurry of criticism from the prosecuting attorney’s office, the local bar association and County Executive Pat McCarthy. The state Attorney General’s Office in February issued an opinion that the council did not have the authority to eliminate the judge’s seat, which was created by the Legislature.

The council’s rules committee already has approved restoring the seat. Today’s vote by the full council would seem to put an end to the episode, at least for now.

Now it’s up to Gov. Chris Gregoire to appoint a replacement for Hecht. Viet Shelton, a spokesman for the governor, said she is “still proceeding with the selection process.” He did not give a timetable for the selection.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. Have the Pierce County Superior Court judges given up their double coverage for health insurance yet?

  2. jiminycricket says:

    When thinking about this fiasco that the Pierce County Council created, a phrase comes to mind: “Open mouth, insert foot.”

  3. It’s a good move.

    Too bad it’s taken them this long.

  4. Martsmarn says:

    Oh, nice of them to undo the ILLEGAL attempt to reduce our Judges and make crime worse.

  5. mattersnot1 says:

    Crissy is doing the picking, so we can look forward to ANOTHER female appointment.

  6. David Wickert says:

    Yid, the Superior Court judges no longer have county health insurance in addition to their state health insurance.

  7. mattersnot1,
    Yes. The Governor does appoint vacant court seats.

    You apparently have something against females, sorry to hear.

    There are many fine candidates that she is looking at right now, and I expect there will be a decision shortly after this posturing from the county council is complete.

  8. Thanks, David.

  9. jiminycricket says:

    As long as the right person is selected to fill this spot, gender should not matter, one iota!

  10. mchawkeye says:

    I guess the killer B’s (Bush & Bunney), were afraid of getting stung in court. Do you think there is any chance they will correct any of their other mistakes?
    Maybe they could take some furlough days and let McCarthy be the county exec for awhile. Has the Council, or anyone that works for them had to take any cuts as of yet? Who else thinks the Council could use some counseling?

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