Goodwin Appointed City Judge
BY BRIAN JONES
COLUMBUS – At its Sept. 15 meeting, the Columbus City Council appointed attorney Gary Goodwin to fill the vacant slot on the municipal court. They also accepted the FY16 budget.
The seat has been vacant since former judge Nicole Clinkscales resigned in July.
Several weeks ago the city began accepting applications. According to Human Resources Director Pat Mitchell, there were three applicants.
“One of those did not meet the qualifications due to residency,” Mitchell said. “We are recommending that you hire Mr. Gary Goodwin.”
Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens made a motion to hire Goodwin, and was seconded by Ward 1 Councilman Gene Taylor. The motion passed 5-1, with Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem voting no.
“I’m very elated that the council chose me,” Goodwin said after the meeting. “I wanted to be hired based on experience, that’s all.”
Goodwin has been practicing law since August 1981. He was elected county prosecutor in the early 1990s in a special election and served out the remainder of that term. He served as municipal judge in Columbus from 1994-96.
“I had a couple of young children and we had long night court back then,” he said. “It was taking me away from my family.”
Goodwin worked as a public defender from 1999 until 2014.
“I like Columbus,” he said. “I live here and I want to see the town do well. Everyone should be in public service. You need to find a board or commission to serve on if you live here. You need to volunteer.”
Goodwin also previously served on the Columbus Lowndes Recreation Authority.
“(Prosecutor) Scott Colom and I work well together,” he said. “When I was public defender and he was prosecutor I liked working with (Colom.) A good prosecutor can make a judge’s job a lot easier.
“I didn’t become a judge to lord it over people or scare people,” he added. “That’s not what a judge is supposed to do. You just try to be fair to people, and that’s all you can really be.”0