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Nations taps Hoover as interim juvenile referee

After weeks of speculation, General Sessions and Juvenile Judge Al Nations announced Wednesday he would appoint his outgoing counterpart Lonnie Hoover to serve as interim juvenile court referee for the period of Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 without input from Judge-elect Denise Andre.

“Judge Hoover is familiar with staff, procedures and scheduling and I can think of no one more qualified for this role,” Nations said in a prepared release.

Hoover served 14 years on the bench before being defeated by Andre in the May Republican primary.

“I had no part in this decision,” Andre said Wednesday. Earlier this month, Andre said the statute regarding the appointment “clearly states the appointment is to be made by judges,” emphasizing the plurality of the word.

“I would expect to be part of that process in determining who would be appointed as juvenile referee,” she said at the time. “The voters have entrusted me with making those decisions jointly.

“It is my intention to follow the county personnel policies and post the position and work with Judge Nations for an appointment of a juvenile referee,” Andre continued.

In his release, Nations also cited the “importance of having someone who could immediately fill the vacancy created by Robbie Beal’s resignation, which will become effective at noon on Aug. 31.”

Beal was appointed juvenile referee eight years ago by Hoover and Nations. On Aug. 18, he submitted a letter of resignation to Hoover and Nations, effective at noon on Aug. 31. Beal will be sworn in as a Circuit Court judge at 3 p.m. that day and take office effective Sept. 1. Beal said earlier this month he was given legal advice he needed to resign his post as juvenile referee before being sworn in as a Circuit Court judge.

Andre will also be sworn in at 3 p.m. Aug. 31 and take office at 12:01 a.m., Sept. 1.

Nations said Hoover’s appointment is for an interim time and will allow for a more formal process after Andre takes her place on the bench.

“Any lawyer with a full-time practice would need several months to close down their practice before coming on board as referee,” Nations said in his release. “The appointment of Judge Hoover will give Judge Andre and me the time we need to select someone qualified and mutually acceptable.”

Hoover, a cancer survivor, reportedly needs to serve approximately 70 days of continued county employment to reach his 55th birthday this fall, which would qualify him to continue his health insurance benefits through Williamson County government before retiring.

Posted on: 8/31/2006


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