Spring Hill has opted to create a new process by which to appoint a municipal judge to replace outgoing Judge Deana Hood.
The Board of Mayor Jim Hagaman and Aldermen have unanimously elected to create an appointment procedure to replace Judge Hood who is set to vacate the bench later this year. Hood has operated as the municipal judge of Spring Hill since 2018. The new procedure is to be facilitated by City Administrator Pam Caskie, City Attorney Patrick M. Carter and Human Resources Director Richard L. Stokes.
The city will officially post the position opening and distribute the posting through the Maury County Bar Association, Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association, Tennessee Town and City and Williamson County Bar Association. Those who apply will have their names posted on Spring Hill’s city website, and BOMA will convene to review the applications to sift through candidates. Thereafter, they will interview candidates, and the interviews will be video-recorded.
When Judge Hood was selected for the bench, the city’s human resources department posted a job description with an invitation to apply despite there being no procedure in place until now. City staff was asked to vet the candidates that applied, and Judge Hood was considered the obvious selection.
Recent years have brought legislation disallowing anyone from holding two such positions simultaneously, which has necessitated the new appointment. However, Spring Hill has had no established requirements for the judgeship in its municipal code, nor had the state provided a catchall equivalent. As such, the city is now setting those rules and requirements in place in time to replace Judge Hood. City staff also analyzed the application processes of other Williamson County cities, including Brentwood and Franklin, to determine how best to do so. Ultimately, the city adopted Brentwood’s policy.
“I’m one of few lawyers who appears in front of these city judges,” remarked Alderman William Pomeroy when the body discussed the issue last month. “I’m just going to be looking for a judge who’s experienced in being in front of these city ordinances and minor traffic offense cases.”
In Autumn 2021, Hood heralded her intent to run for Circuit Court Judge. Last month, she won the Circuit Court primary against Shane K. McNeill, which now makes her the judge-elect, so to speak, with no remaining opposition. She is expected to step down as city judge in August.
That same year, the State Supreme Court appointed her to the Judicial Ethics Committee. She formerly served Franklin in the same capacity that she currently serves Spring Hill for four years beginning in Oct. 2014.
The municipal judgeship is a part-time role with a salary of $28,000. It mostly concerns ruling over minor traffic and code violations.