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Move follows resignation of judge-elect Green prior to election results being certified
By RUSSELL TURNER
The Greene County Board of Supervisors on Friday morning appointed Shannon Busby as Justice Court Judge – Post 2.
Busby earned the appointment after a shocking development late Wednesday – a day before the General Election results were to set be certified – when the candidate who won the post announced he would not be taking the office.
Justice Court Judge-Elect Terril Green notified the Greene County Election Commission of his decision in writing late Wednesday afternoon, less than 24 hours before election officials were set to meet to certify the results of the Nov. 5 vote. Green, who ran as a Republican, held a 51-to-49 percent margin over Busby at that time.
“I write this letter to withdraw my name from consideration as the potential winner of the Justice Court Judge Position 2 for our county from the recent general election,” Green wrote in his Nov. 13 letter to the county’s election commissioners. “This decision has been difficult, but I feel it is best for all involved at this time.”
Green did not provide any additional details in his letter. However, when contacted by the Herald Thursday morning, Green said health issues played into his decision-making.
“I’ve got something health wise that has come up, and after considering the options, I decided it won’t be fair to take the job as I would be missing too much time,” Green told the Herald.
The decision left Greene County temporarily without a justice court judge. Post 1 Judge Jeff Byrd, who was unopposed in his re-election bid and won the Nov. 5 election, resigned his post effective Nov. 1 in a move related to his state retirement package. County supervisors accepted Byrd’s resignation in their regular November meeting and appointed Perry County Judge Tim Odom and George County Judge Jesse Underwood to cover court affairs until after the election. Questions remain whether either of those officials can hear Greene County cases without an appointment to do so by a circuit judge, making Busby’s appointment more important to the system.
Supervisors were reportedly set to meet last week to appoint Green to fill out the remaining term of former Post 1 Judge L. Joe Beard, who resigned earlier this year. Beard had announced he would not seek reelection, but had planned to serve the remainder of this term until unexpected issues with his retirement package forced him to make an early departure.
Along with appointing Busby to the post, supervisors also approved travel and expenses for him to attend training this month.
Busby’s appointment is for the remainder of the current term, which will end Jan. 5. At that time, the new board of supervisors, which will include three newly-elected members, will need to re-appoint Busby or make another appointment to fill the post until a special election can be held in Nov. 2020. That special election, which will be held in conjunction with the presidential election cycle, will fill the remaining three years of the term and will be non-partisan. Officials said holding the special election at that time saves the county the added expense of a seperate election.
Supervisors will reportedly not appoint someone to fill Byrd’s post as he can satisfy the mandatory 90-day break from service in late January and has told officials he plans to assume the bench on Feb. 1. That timeline works as it satisfies the state law that says the post would be considered vacated if the newly-elected official doesn’t take office within 30-days of the start of the term.