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Kelly judgeship appointment still uncertain

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By Geoff Hamill

The seat of Sen. Dan Kelly, R-Springfield, in the 14th District of the Kentucky Legislature isn’t empty, but that hasn’t stopped numerous people from speculating about how it will be filled, if indeed it is vacated.

Kelly’s name has surfaced in rumors as the man to fill a seat that is actually empty, and that’s the one vacated by Chief Regional Circuit Judge Doughlas “Dodie” George when he moved from the position and into the state’s senior status program in February.

Despite reports in area newspapers that have said George has not gone into senior status, George himself said that is not correct.

“I am a senior status judge, and I’ve been on senior status since the first of February,” George said. “I have been appointed monthly, each month, to continue to fill my position until they appoint my successor.”

George’s eventual successor is rumored to be Kelly, although nothing has been done through the processes required to fill George’s seat. George said the vacancy of his judicial seat will be formally announced at some point in the near future, and from there, a number of steps must be followed before it is filled.

“They’ve already assumed that the governor is going to appoint Dan Kelly in my position, and they’re already talking about who’s going to take his place, but we haven’t even gone through the process,” George said of the rumors.  He explained that a seven-person committee would make that decision. According to George, when the judicial vacancy is announced, attorneys with interest in the seat will have to submit their own names to be considered.

At this point, it is all speculation as to whether Kelly will submit his name when the vacancy is announced. From there, if he does submit his name, he would still have to be on the three-person list selected by the committee, and then the governor would have to select him from that list. Reports have speculated that Kelly, Majority Floor Leader of the state Senate, would be chosen by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, in a move that would remove Republicans from the Senate.

See the complete story in this week's Springfield Sun!