With the retirement of Fort Worth’s Chief Judge Danny Rodgers scheduled for Dec. 29, Fort Worth council members were briefed on the process to select his replacement at their Nov. 7 meeting.

In a nutshell

According to a city news release, Chapter 30 of the Texas Government Code sets out the requirements for appointment of judges and the presiding judge for municipal courts of record. Additionally, the chief judge and associate judges are selected and appointed by majority vote of City Council to serve specified terms.

Chief judge candidates must hold a Juris Doctor degree and be licensed or eligible to be licensed to practice law in Texas, according to the news release. In addition, the candidate must have practiced law for a minimum of two years and be in good standing with the State Bar of Texas.

The details

Selection of the new chief judge will be managed by the city’s human resources department. The news release stated the search process will occur in several steps, including:
  • The position will bee posted to internal and external candidates using several job posting services, including the Texas Municipal Court Association, the Tarrant County Bar Association, the Tarrant County Black Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association and the National League of Cities.
  • The chief judge will work with the city manager’s office and HR department to convene a panel to screen eligible applicants. The panel will select and invite a group of candidates to participate in the interview process with the objective of selecting four to six eligible candidates.
  • The chief judge will provide a hiring recommendation to council for their consideration and vote to appoint a new chief judge and set compensation.
Diving in deeper

According to the news release, if a new chief judge is not selected by Jan. 1, 2024, Rodgers is recommending Deputy Chief Judge Simon Gonzales serve as the interim chief judge.