Judge Jeffrey Smith to step down today
Gov. Tom Corbett has not yet nominated anyone to replace Bradford County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Smith, whose last day on the job is today, a spokesman for the governor said.
For now, senior judges, who are retired judges appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, will take up the workload on the Bradford County Court of Common Pleas that will be created by Smith's departure, said Mary Lou Vanderpool, district court administrator for Bradford County.
Normally, the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County has two full-time judges, and Smith's departure will leave just one, Maureen Beirne.
Smith has said he is resigning as judge to spend more time with his family and other relatives.
The senior judges are being assigned temporary duties in Bradford County, Vanderpool said. The assignment of a senior judge to Bradford County is arranged by Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and must also be approved by the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, she said.
Vanderpool said she believes the assignment of senior judges to Bradford County will be sufficient to carry the workload that Smith will leave behind.
Gov. Corbett has the option of not nominating anyone to fill the Common Pleas judge position, in which case senior judges would assist the Common Pleas Court until the judge position is filled in the 2015 election, said Janet Kelley, deputy director of communications for Gov. Corbett.
"No decision has been made" as far as whether Gov. Corbett will be nominating anyone to fill the position, Kelley said.
Kelley said that it appears that there is no deadline which Corbett would have to meet to nominate someone for the post.
A nominee selected by the governor would need to be confirmed by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. If confirmed, the nominee would serve through the end of 2015.
Smith has himself applied to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to grant him certification as a senior judge, Vanderpool said.
Smith has not heard yet whether he has been granted the certification, she said.
If Smith becomes a senior judge, he would serve on an as-needed, part-time basis in Bradford and other counties, she said.
Smith has worked in the Bradford County Courthouse for over 30 years.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.