ELLIJAY, GA. – Gilmer County’s Probate Court Judge Scott Chastain is naming a new Associate Judge in the office.
Tracey Teague was the name mentioned during meetings as Chastain began speaking with the Board of Commissioners about the promotion to fill in for him in certain situations. He also said that he was told he had to bring the request to the Board of Commissioners as the position normally comes with a pay increase along with an increase in responsibilities. Because of the pay increase, it becomes a budgetary issue.
Chastain said that he needed the Associate Judge for times when he may be away for training courses or other matters requiring him to be out of the county. He told the Commissioners that he, historically, has had the Pickens County Probate Judge fill in in times like this. However, with the recent virus outbreak, several Probate Judges have been exposed to COVID and a statewide recommendation has suggested that Probate Offices consider appointing someone to this position so that there will be support as well as a clear fill-in should something happen or to cover the possibility of a death.
The position is appointed by Chastain serves at his leisure and can be replaced whenever the Judges wishes. However, initial appointment and establishment of the position goes back to the previously mentioned budgetary requirements for the board.
Also, the appointment shall only last as long as he stays in office, the new Judge could decide and appoint a new associate as they wish.
Teague, since approved, will step in a serve whenever Chastain requests for her to fill in due to an absence. A prime example of such needs came mere months ago when Scott Chastain tested positive for COVID-19. In that situation, it would have fallen to Teague to carry on until he returned.
The approval for Teague came with a caveat that the position was approved. But the Board made comments that the position’s pay increase would be put in with the budget requests as normal and was not approved in the same motion.
Teague was announced as Judge Chastain’s Chief Clerk in 2019 and had already served as Chief Clerk under Judge Mullins. She handles much of the requirements in traffic court, and Chastain previously that he already uses her as Chief Clerk for certain administration needs when he is out of the office.