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Chief magistrate wants to go full-time

Posted: February 14, 2016 - 12:00am
Jason Troiano:  Chief Magi­strate judge is  currently working part time.  Valerie Rowell
Valerie Rowell
Jason Troiano: Chief Magi­strate judge is currently working part time.

Columbia County officials are considering a proposal from the county’s chief magistrate judge to make his position full time.

Chief Magistrate Jason Troiano made the proposal at a Tuesday Management and Financial Services Committee meeting.

“With the growth in the county and the evaluation that I did when I first became chief magistrate,” Troiano said, “it was very clear that it was quickly becoming a job that needed to be full time to be effective to manage the department properly.”

In 2015, the court processed or carried out 2,400 warrants, 2,900 civil cases, 202 search warrants and 146 pre-warrant hearings.

Columbia County is one of 14 counties of the 159 statewide that operates with part-time chief magistrates.

Only one, Paulding County west of Atlanta, is larger than Columbia County.

“(Having a full-time chief magistrate is) definitely something that most Georgia counties are working towards,” Troiano said.

If he’s approved to work full time, Troiano said the law prohibits him from continuing to practice law privately.

The office currently works with five marshals, four administrative personnel including a manager, who is also one of six magistrate judges in addition to Troiano.

He expects to make up most of the cost of the full-time chief position by eliminating an administrative position that has been vacant since August 2014 and one of the associate magistrates who typically works nights.

“I think (by) eliminating both of those positions, with those salaries that are paid and the corresponding benefits package,” Troiano said, “I think we can get to a point where it can be a full-time position without any substantial increase or cost to the county.”

County commission Chairman Ron Cross said the proposal will be discussed with county staff before a decision is made.

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