The Hamilton County general sessions judge seat vacated by the death of Judge Bob Moon could be filled as early as March.
Moon unexpectedly died of a heart attack in his Signal Mountain home last week.
Hamilton County Commissioners set a deadline of Feb. 10 at noon for any interested candidates to submit applications and resumes for the seat with the Board of Elections. Individual interviews with commissioners and candidates will take place between Feb. 13 and 29, with a date of March 1 targeted for an appointment.
During discussion surrounding the resolution, Commission Chairman Larry Henry recommended that the commission move quickly and make an appointment "as soon as possible."
"I think it is the responsibility of this County Commission," Henry said. "We are prescribed by law to fill vacancies when they do occur … in sessions court there can be a backlog very quickly."
Commissioner Joe Graham agreed and said he believed Moon would have preferred for his replacement to be installed in a smooth transition.
"Judge Moon was a dear friend of mine, and I don't want to say I knew him better than anybody else, but I knew him well enough to know that he would not have wanted us to bog down the court systems in any way, shape or form," he said. "He'd want to move it along, and move it along as quickly as he could."
Commissioner Greg Beck was the only commissioner to question the process, suggesting that it would be better for public interviews to take place.
"To show equality across the board, a public interview would give us a chance to interview the applicants openly and ask questions," he said.
The commission also passed a resolution to place a vote concerning the new judge on the Aug. 2 county ballot.