Lakeway City Council appointed Michele Locke as new associate judge for the Lakeway Municipal Court at its Jan. 22 meeting.
Kim Brown resigned from the position late last year.
“After advertising the opening, performing an exhaustive search and interviewing prospective candidates, Mayor Cox, in accordance with the city charter, appointed Michele Locke as the new associate judge for the Lakeway Municipal Court, subject to City Council approval,” City Manager Steve Jones said.
Presiding Judge Kevin Madison, who was involved in the search and evaluation of candidates, concurs with the appointment, Jones said, adding Locke meets the requirements of the city charter, is an attorney licensed to practice in the state of Texas and has judicial experience.
Juvenile case manager fund re-established
In other municipal court news, council passed an ordinance reinstating the juvenile case manager fund.
State law allows municipal courts to impose a $5 juvenile case manager court cost on all cases of persons convicted or placed on probation in the court, a staff report by presiding Judge Kevin Madison said.
Proceeds from the court cost are solely dedicated to the city’s juvenile case manager fund and may be used to:
- fund a juvenile case manager position;
- create and fund juvenile alcohol and substance abuse programs;
- fund educational and leadership programs; and
- fund any other projects that prevent or reduce the number of juvenile referrals to the court.
In April 2008, such a position and fund was created. In 2010, School Crossing Guard Nancy Johnson was hired to be the first juvenile case manager in a part-time position, Madison said.
The court implemented community service programs that put juvenile offenders to work in Lakeway picking up trash along roadways, in parks and along trails, the report said. Johnson also supervised all juvenile defendants and monitored their probation conditions to ensure the court’s orders were being carried out.
Several years later, the city abolished the position because the court did not have enough juvenile offender cases to justify the position. In June 2012, council passed a motion repealing the Juvenile Case Manager Fund overall, the report said, though they retained the legal right to hold the funds that were already collected in the account for future use.
As population has grown over recent years, the number of court cases involving juveniles has increased, Madison said.
Another factor causing an increase in juvenile court cases has been a joint effort between the Lakeway Municipal Court and the Lakeway Police Department to route juvenile possession of marijuana cases through the local municipal court, the report said. The cases, along with minor in possession of alcohol, minor in possession of tobacco, and juvenile traffic cases have increased to the point where the court could utilize a part-time juvenile case manager to monitor, supervise, and counsel juvenile defendants on probation in court.
Madison said because the position is fully funded by imposed court costs paid by defendants, there is no cost to the city and no fiscal impact. Because all the funds previously collected were maintained, the current balance is already $40,831.
“This means we have more than sufficient funds to hire a part-time juvenile case manager now,” Madison said.
May 4 election called to see 4 seats filled
Council officially called a May 4 election at the Jan. 22 meeting.
Terms are expiring for council members Bridge Bertram, Ron Massa and Keith Trecker. The term for mayor, currently held by Sandy Cox, is also scheduled for election.
The first day to file an application for ballot was Jan. 16, and the deadline to file is Feb. 15 at 5 p.m.
Election costs are shared by all participating entities within Travis County, and the amount budgeted is based on estimates from previous years, a staff report said. The city budgeted $60,000 for fiscal year 2019 election expenditures.