Allegan County’s circuit judges are engaged in a dispute involving Judge Kevin Cronin’s desire to hire a former attorney referee at the court as his law clerk.
Cronin filed a complaint with the Michigan Supreme Court Feb. 25 asking it to order Judge Margaret Zuzich Bakker, the court’s chief judge, to allow him to hire his own law clerk and secretary.
The complaint alleges that Cronin needed to hire a new law clerk last fall because his was leaving at the end of the year.
The complaint stated, “Accordingly, last fall Judge Cronin publicly solicited applications for a law clerk to commence work in January, 2014. Judge Bakker was aware that Judge Cronin was soliciting applications, screening candidates and would be hiring a law clerk. Judge Bakker did not object to the process.”
Cronin went through the process and received about 25 applications, his complaint said, including one from Chris Anderson who was an attorney referee in the circuit court for more than 20 years until Bakker fired him in 2013. Cronin chose Anderson because Cronin “...could work well with Mr. Anderson, whose legal abilities, experience and judgment were respected by Judge Cronin.”
Bakker, the complaint maintains, told Cronin she would not allow him to use Anderson as his law clerk and said she would create a pool of law clerks for both judges to use.