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Council swears in municipal court judge

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 30th, 2013

Mayor Tom Munroe swears in new judge Martin Fisher at the April 22 City Council meeting.

Almost a year later, the City of Cottage Grove has a new municipal court judge.

On Monday, May 14, 2012, a divisive 5-2 vote by the Cottage Grove City Council led to the dismissal of 12-year veteran Richard Brissenden from the judge’s bench. On Monday, April 22, the Council swore Martin Fisher, PC into the position.

The year between the dismissal of one judge and hiring of the next featured an in-depth evaluation of the position by the Council, which directly employs the municipal court judge and city manager. The selection process for a new judge included the drafting of a job description for the position and the development of a codified process for evaluating the job performance of the judge, which did not previously exist. Court Clerk Cathy Kelty served as interim judge for much of that time.

“We had to analyze the position from the ground up, and it took a lot of ironing out and a lot of time,” said City Councilor Heather Murphy, who had strenuously opposed the dismissal of Brissenden. “But in the end I think the Council came to a common understanding. We had excellent candidates, and Martin (Fisher) rose to the top for the majority. He had excellent references and a great background. He already has a working knowledge of our system here and some great ideas for the future.”

Councilor Jeff Gowing agreed that the City had five good candidates for the position.

“The new judge will be a good fit,” Gowing said. “He had a lot of energy and will be a good choice for the City.”

Gowing said the extra step taken by Fisher to appear before the Council for a formal swearing-in showed commitment to the community. It’s a community that is by no means unknown to Fisher, who has occasionally served as the City’s prosecuting attorney as recently as nine months ago. These days, the Eugene-based Fisher’s private practice consists largely of civil litigation, family law and personal injury cases.

For the complete article see the 05-01-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-01-2013 paper.

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