Interim city judge named

Shea Erwin to fill seat until new mayor appoints successor in 2014

Shea Erwin

The Dillon City Council voted unanimously Nov. 25 to seat Shea Erwin as interim city judge at a special City Council meeting convened on Monday just to resolve the matter.

“I think she is a very capable person and I think it will work out well,” said Dillon Mayor Marty Malesich.

Erwin replaces John F. Gutcheck, who died Nov. 18.

Erwin, who served as Gutcheck’s assistant from 2012 until his death, will fill the position until the end of the year, after which the city will appoint someone to be city judge until the next general city election in November 2015.

First appointed city judge in 2009, Gutcheck was reelected to the position for a four-year term in the 2013 general city election earlier this month, when the Anaconda native ran uncontested.

Beaverhead County Justice Court Judge Candy Hoerning had been sitting in for Gutcheck while he underwent treatment for cancer over the past two months. But Gutcheck’s death meant that, according to state law, someone had to be appointed to the position.

Mayor Marty Malesich had nominated Erwin at the City Council meeting last Wednesday, when some expressed concern that not enough City Council members would be present at the Monday noon, pre-holiday meeting to form a quorum.

Assistant City Attorney Jim Dolan had urged the Council members to show up at the special meeting, saying there were several important cases before the city court.

All eight City Council members attended the special meeting and voted to seat Erwin.

Dillon City Police Chief Paul Craft said he had informed Mayor-elect Mike Klakken of the idea of seating Erwin through the end of the year, and that Klakken had no objections to the plan.