Teague sworn in as Associate Probate Judge

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Teague

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Though Gilmer County Probate Judge has said he would be appointing her, and although the move was approved by the Gilmer Board of Commissioners, taking the oath of office is the final step, and the official step, for Gilmer County Probate Court Associate Judge Tracey A. Teague in taking on the position in the coming year.

Tracy Teague

Tracy Teague

Judge Scott Chastain said, “She will assume that new role on January 1, 2021. As it stands now, if something happens to me and I am unable to continue my duties as the Probate Judge, the probate office would be left without someone to continue the day to day operations.”

Tracey A. Teague has been an employee of the Probate Office for over 6 years and previously worked for Judge Mullins. She served as the Chief Clerk for Judge Mullins and currently serves in that same role for Judge Chastain. She is a 1992 Gilmer County graduate, she is married to Bobby Teague and has two children, Taylor and Boston.

Chastain previously called Teague a “Lifesaver” in April of last year after her aid in his transition into the office. Now he continued saying, “Tracey has been a tremendous asset to this office and I truly appreciate all she has done to assist me in making the Probate Office in Gilmer County one of the best in Georgia.”

With this oath, as previously reported when Chastain said he wanted to appoint Teague to this position, this will allow Teague to not only step up as the Chief Clerk, but as the actual judge in situations where Chastain is unavailable, in training, or incapacitated. Some might find it strange to think of such contingencies. However, this has already become reality for Gilmer’s Probate Office.

Gilmer County Courthouse

Chastain said, “Back in July when I tested positive for COVID-19, I was not allowed to enter the courthouse for nearly a month. During that time, we got behind on a few things. Across the state of Georgia, Probate Courts were hit pretty hard by the virus and unfortunately, we lost three of our Probate Judges and other probate court staff. It was during this time, the Council for Probate Judges suggested that we all look at the possibility of something happening to us and what it would do to our office and citizens of the county.”

With that suggestion, Chastain began looking at his options and at those serving in clerk capacities under him. Those clerks have already achieved a great deal in the office, according to Chastain who just celebrated state certification for two more clerks as well as that making every clerk in the office certified. At the same time, he is moving forward after administering the oaths and responsibilities to Teague.

Chastain said, “By law, the Probate Judge has the authority to appoint an Associate Judge. It requires that the Probate Judge seek approval of that appointment from the governing body of the county. A few weeks ago, I sent a request to the Board of Commissioners asking them to approve the appointment of Tracey A. Teague. They approved my request at a public meeting on October 28, 2020.”

Probate Court gets Associate Judge

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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.

Tracy Teague, Judge

Gilmer County Probate Court Associate Judge Tracey Teague

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.

Scott Chastain, Judge

Gilmer County Probate Judge Scott Chastain

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.

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