TOPEKA — Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced the Supreme Court has appointed Judge William R. Mott as chief judge of the 30th Judicial District, effective Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017.
Mott has served as district judge in the 30th Judicial District since 2007, presiding over cases primarily in Sumner County.
He was appointed to complete the term of chief judge held by Kingman County District Judge Larry T. Solomon, who retired Aug. 31.
In making the appointment, Chief Nuss said, "I have worked with Judge Mott in his capacity as one of the leaders of the Kansas District Judges Association. That experience indicates he will do an excellent job as the new chief judge for the 30th Judicial District."
As the new chief judge, Mott said there will be numerous challenges facing him, such as competitive pay for court personnel and retaining experienced employees.
“We have quite a number of dedicated, loyal employees whose salaries have been frozen for many years and are way below market value. I see some of the employees moonlighting in other jobs at the grocery store or elsewhere to make ends meet," Judge Mott said. "As our judicial branch employees retire — and we have quite a number getting close — or leave for better-paying city jobs, we will be faced with competing with fast-food restaurants for entry-level employees, where in the past that wasn’t the case."
The loss of well-trained, experienced judicial branch employees, he said, will mean that "all the judges, not just the chief judge, will by necessity spend more time managing employees and less time doing the legal work of a judge. While I am powerless to improve the pay, I will do my best to serve the public with whatever resources are at my disposal.”
Mott, a Wellington native, graduated from Friends University in Wichita and received his law degree from Washburn University in 1995. He practiced law in Wellington and served as Sumner County attorney from 1997 to 2005. He was a special assistant U.S. attorney in Wichita for two years until being appointed a Sumner County district judge.
Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court. They are appointed to two-year terms.