Littleton City Council has initiated a search for applicants qualified to be the presiding municipal judge. The position is currently held by Judge …
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Littleton City Council has initiated a search for applicants qualified to be the presiding municipal judge. The position is currently held by Judge James Anderson, who was a central figure in the firing of former city attorney Suzanne Staiert.
A Nov. 2 council communication notes Anderson's two-year contract expires on Dec. 21 and says the process is normal and customary.
“Council held an executive session on October 2, 2012 to discuss the contract renewal process,” writes City Manager Michael Penny. “Council indicated an interest in initiating a process to evaluate qualified … respondents for the position.”
Council fired Staiert last September, just hours after she filed a sexual-harassment complaint against Anderson with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The complaint also alleged council retaliated against her by hiring an attorney to investigate her after she reported the unwanted behavior to the city's human-resources department. The city ultimately settled with Staiert, paying her $143,000 while denying any wrongdoing. Staiert withdrew the complaint and went on to become the deputy secretary of state.
Anderson has never publicly commented on the situation. But during a recorded meeting with Staiert and human-relations director Erich WonSavage, Anderson never denies any of the behavior that Staiert said made her uncomfortable, including giving her gifts and showing up at meetings just to see her. He simply says it was not his intent to make her feel that way.
Council appointed Anderson to the judgeship as an independent contractor in May 2010. He has served as a municipal relief judge for the Aurora Municipal Court and an assistant municipal judge for the Centennial Municipal Court. He was a district court magistrate for the State of Colorado Judicial Department for eight years, where he presided over a family-court division. He was also a deputy district attorney in the First Judicial District Attorney's Office.
Once the search is complete, staff will present council with a selection of candidates to consider. Applicants must be admitted to the Colorado bar and have at least five years' experience in the practice of law. Among many requirements is the “ability to develop and maintain an effective working relationship with court staff, other city departments and employees, and the public.”
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