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Magistrate to begin earlier than expected

Chair confident Bane will be overseeing cases by late-July

Magistrate Ron Bane will start about six months earlier than anticipated after being appointed to the position following his election win for the seat of Magistrate Hershel Mullins, who passed away earlier this month. 

When Mullins died, his seat became vacant and state law allows the chief judge to appoint a replacement, Monongalia County Circuit Court Chief Judge Phillip Gaujot said. 

“Since Ron Bane had already won the election, it seemed appropriate that Ron Bane should be appointed to complete the term,” Gaujot said. “I don’t know of anybody else who would’ve wanted to complete the term.” 

After consulting with the state Supreme Court, Gaujot appointed Bane, who would have started his four-year term Jan. 1, 2020. Bane said he was excited to get the call to start early, but knows he has big shoes to fill.

 “It’s hard to fill somebody’s shoes that they’ve been in there for 32 years,” Bane said. “I’m going to do the best I can. I ran for office for this, and I’m blessed to be able to have an opportunity to get some more experience and go at it a little early, which I’m really excited about.” 

His campaign did not immediately announce his appointment because Bane wanted to be sensitive to the passing of Mullins and for people to have time to remember him. 

Gaujot’s order was entered on June 18, and there is a 20 day waiting period before an appointed magistrate can be sworn in, meaning the earliest Bane could assume office is July 8. 

However, Bane will be in Charleston on that day for part of his magistrate training. Vote Bane Chair/Treasurer Wes Nugent said they are confident Bane will be overseeing cases by late-July. The transition is being led by Amy White, Bane’s assistant. White was hired by Mullins three-and-a-half years ago and agreed to stay on.

 “Our caseload is current, and I have worked hard to ensure all cases and any hearings are scheduled timely,” she said. 

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