Several seek judge job

Published 6:29 am Monday, March 3, 2008

By By Lydia Grimes – features reporter
Several Escambia County residents have tossed their hats into the ring to replace outgoing Probate Judge Rachel Agerton.
Agerton will retire April 1 after seven years as judge and about 40 working in the probate judge's office.
Gov. Bob Riley is expected to appoint a successor to fill the remaining five years in Agerton's term. State Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, said Friday he has already been in touch with the governor's office about the process.
“I have been in contact with (appointment director Sally Robinson) about those who might be interested in filling the vacancy,” Baker said.
Charles Jackson, who ran against Agerton in the last election and received more than 3,000 votes, said he is interested in the position
Mike Edwards, chairman of the Escambia County Republican Party, said Jackson had already spent the money on a campaign and had attracted support for the position when he ran previously.
Maxine Butts, who has worked in the probate office for more than 25 years, has also announced her intention to seek the position.
Other candidates considered to be on the list include Emilie Mims, director of the Atmore Chamber of Commerce, and Les White.
Tara Hutchinson, in the governor's office, said that the process of appointing a new probate judge, would take some time.
Agerton said it may be close to her retirement date before an announcement is made from the governor's office.
Agerton began working in the probate office in April 1968 as a clerk.
She became chief clerk in 1977 and was named probate judge in 2000 with the retirement of Devon Wiggins. She took office in 2001 and then ran unopposed and won a second six-year term. During her years in the office she has worked for three other judges, Reo Kirkland Sr., Martha Kirkland and Devon Wiggins.
During Agerton's four decades at the probate judge's office, she has seen many changes.
“I guess the biggest change has been in the field of technology,” she said.
Agerton said that while she looks forward to retirement, she will miss the office and its employees.

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