There’s Nunn Better

Published 10:43 am Friday, February 15, 2019

Jimmy Nunn is an important piece of Dallas County political history.

Nunn is the first African-American Probate Judge in Dallas County. He was sworn in on Jan. 12 and his first official day in office was Jan. 14.

Nunn won the probate judge spot, defeating Nicholas Switzer 6,305 to 4,636 in a runoff on July 17. He won with almost 58 percent of the vote.

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Nunn said he sees his election victory as a huge accomplishment for Dallas County, which was founded in 1818.

“I see my position as a significant achievement not just for me, but also for Dallas County,” Nunn said. “It was due to the number of people who turned out and voted for me. They’re the ones who put me into office. It took Dallas County to do this and I’m grateful.”

Nunn also credited his family for playing a big role in winning: wife Phenicia, and their three children, Jimmy Jr., Jimicia and Jimiya

“I tell people all the time I had four-to-five votes in my family,” Nunn said. “I couldn’t have done it without my family and the voters.”

Nunn is honored to succeed Kim Ballard, who decided not to run after spending 12 years as probate judge. They are longtime friends.

“Judge Ballard and I are very close and we’ve worked together in the city for years,” Nunn said. “We have a very good working relationship.”

Nunn also said Ballard has been very supportive in making the move from Selma City attorney to probate judge.

“Judge Ballard has been a great asset for 12 years and he’s made it easy for me transitioning over to the county,” Nunn said. “The county has done well under his leadership and I expect it to keep doing well under my leadership. Judge Ballard has been an asset in the transition and pledged to be there for me. You can’t ask for anything better than that.”

Ballard said Nunn will be a good probate judge.

“I think the world of Jimmy Nunn,” Ballard said. “He’s a good man, a good family man and a good Christian man. There will be a transition, but the county commission will support him 100 percent. There’s a lot of parallels between me and Jimmy. I worked nine years on the city council and he worked for years as the city attorney. We’ve seen both sides of the aisle.”

Nunn plans on extending Ballard’s invitation for residents to air out their complaints in his office.

“I will continue to have the open-door policy,” Nunn said. “My doors will always be open.”

Nunn said he’s looking forward to working with the other four County Commissioners: Valerie Reubin, Roy Moore, Curtis Williams and Ray Nickles.

“We have four Commissioners who work together and they pledged to work me,” Nunn said. “I pledged to work with them. I’m hoping we’ll be one big family.”

Nunn’s run as a public servant began at Legal Services in Selma as Domestic Violence Coordinator. Legal Services is an organization that solved family matters. He worked with the organization from 1996 to 1998 and said it was a great experience.

“It entailed dealing with child support, child custody, child separation and divorces,” Nunn said.

From there, Nunn moved on and became Dallas County Assistant District Attorney in 1998. He worked under then-District Attorney Edgar Greene and held the position until 2000.

“That job entailed criminal and prosecuting matters: rapes, murders, robberies and burglaries,” Nunn said. “You prosecuted someone for their actions.”

Greene said he enjoyed working with Nunn and sees a bright future ahead for him.

“Jimmy was a wonderful prosecutor and a pleasure to work with,” Greene said. “We’ve got a good probate judge coming into Dallas County.”

Nunn is best-known in Dallas County as the city attorney, which he began in 2000 and ended last year. He worked under three different Mayors: James Perkins, George Evans and Darrio Melton.  Nunn was hired by Perkins, but Evans and Melton both retained him.

“That was my first glimpse of government,” Nunn said. “It was understanding the integral part of government, knowing how it runs and works with the three different branches: executive, legislative and judicial.”

Evans, who was Selma’s mayor from 2008 to 2016, praised Nunn for his professionalism.

“Nunn was a very devoted employee,” Evans said. “He supported the mission of the mayor in keeping the city council informed of the pros and cons in legal matters. I don’t recall anything that I asked him to do in the line of work he didn’t carry out to the best of his ability. I was pleased with our ability to work together.

The 18-year run as city attorney also provided Nunn an opportunity to work with other municipalities in the county.

“I got to know how to work with the cities of Valley Grande, Orrville and the county,” Nunn said. “It was a good experience.”

City Council President Corey Bowie said it was a privilege to work with Nunn.

“I have really enjoyed working with Jimmy Nunn during my tenure on the council,” Bowie said. “Nunn served the city of Selma with character, integrity and professionalism. Jimmy Nunn’s humble spirit will be missed in city hall. Jimmy Nunn will be an asset to the probate judge’s office.”

Nunn awaits the next chapter of his life and he can’t wait to get started.