PORTERDALE -- Conyers attorney Robert Mumford was appointed judge of Porterdale Municipal Court Monday night by unanimous vote of the City Council.
The appointment followed a closed session discussion of the recommendations of a committee appointed by the council to review applications for city judge and the city solicitor.
The council appointed Duluth attorney Robert Piccarreto as the interim solicitor for 60 days while the city readvertises the request for qualifications for that position. Councilman Robert Foxworth cast the lone vote against the appointment.
City Manager Bob Thomson said the original RFQ called for the qualified solicitor applicant to have a minimum of eight years of experience as a practicing attorney.
"The gentleman that (the council) appointed as the interim didn't have the recommended eight years of experience," explained Thomson. "He has like five or six, so we are going to appoint him as the interim and readvertise to see if there would be anybody other than him that would have five years or less experience."
City Councilman Lowell Chambers made the motion to readvertise the RFQs for solicitor. The motion passed unanimously.
Mumford, who was present at the beginning of the meeting, was introduced to the council prior to his appointment.
Mumford said he was honored by the appointment and thanked the council for the opportunity to run the city's court.
Mumford has served in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government. He most recently served as a Republican state representative from the 95th District. He served two terms in the House but decided in 2008 that he would not seek a third term.
He has also served as Rockdale County District Attorney and Rockdale Superior Court judge.
In the State House, Mumford served as vice chairman for the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee and secretary for the House Retirement and Science and Technology committees. He was also a member of the House Insurance Committee.
The Porterdale Council decided in May to advertise RFQs for the positions of solicitor and judge, which at that time were held by Solicitor Qader Baig, a Conyers attorney, and Judge David Strickland, a Covington attorney. Prior to that decision. Some council members had expressed dissatisfaction with the court's handling of a DUI case involving a Conyers police officer.
Baig subsequently resigned, and the council sent letters to both Baig and Strickland maintaining that the timing of its decision to advertise RFQs was coincidental and not related to dissatisfaction with the handling of the DUI case.
According to the letters, the city's decision to advertise RFQs was based on a desire to "ensure that the court is staffed by qualified and respected professionals, and that all procedures are conducted with the utmost decorum and professionalism. This can best be accomplished by periodically opening these positions for review and renewal in a public and transparent manner ...."
Thomson said the city hasn't held court in about three months and he expects a heavy caseload when court resumes.
"They are probably going to be winding out the door," he said.