Ballard to be sworn in as probate judge

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

As Johnny Jones Jr. retires as Dallas County’s probate judge and from politics after 30 years, Probate Judge elect Kim Ballard prepares to move into office.

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, Ballard and Sheriff Harris Huffman will be sworn in by Jones at 10 a.m. in the county commission courtroom.

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“It’s certainly a day I enter into with mixed emotions,” Ballard said.

Ballard and Jones have not only served Dallas County together, they have also been very good friends for 46 years.

One of the duties of the probate judge is to preside over the county commission meetings as chairman. The Jan. 8 county commission meeting was Jones’ last and a very emotional one for the entire commission and attendants.

“This is not going to be easy for me,” Ballard said at the meeting. “I won’t take his place. His shoes are too big to fill. I’m going to do my best.”

Ballard said Jones has taken him under his wing, showing him the ropes as he prepares to change roles next week.

“It’s been a good 10 years on the commission,” Ballard said. “It’s been a good ride.”

Ballard also said he was a bit sad that he will not be serving on the commission in the same capacity, as he will not vote on issues with the rest of the commissioners. The chairman presides over the meeting and only votes in the event of a tie.

Also having served on the Selma City Council for nine years, Ballard says it “makes me easy to empathize” with the problems the city and county face.

“I’m glad the people in Dallas County had confidence enough to elect me,” he said.

As commission chairman, Ballard said one his first issues of focus will be getting the transfer stations issue resolved as it is of great concern to the commission and Dallas County citizens.

As it stands, the cost to the county to keep the stations operable – one being located in Orrville and the other off Highway 41 towards Camden – has escalated to the point where it’s unaffordable.

“We spent last year $447,000,” Ballard said at the last commission meeting.

Stating that the county is limited in how it can increase revenue, Ballard said, “We do have to watch the expenses.”

Commissioners expressed that they do not want the stations to close and are asking the public help to keep them operational. The time and date of the first public meeting has not yet been announced, but according to the commission, there will be several.

Ballard was confident when saying that he believes a solution can be found “if you listen to the public.”