San Juan County Commission will appoint probate judge once Stacey Biel resigns

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Probate Judge Stacey Biel speaks, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, prior to taking the oath of office.

AZTEC — Since Stacey Biel was elected to the magistrate judge position, the San Juan County Commission will need to appoint someone to fulfill her term as probate judge.

Biel was elected as probate judge in 2018 and the term expires in 2022. She has not yet tendered her resignation, but the county is anticipating it will come shortly

During the San Juan County Commission meeting on Nov. 10, the commissioners decided they would follow a similar method for appointing the new probate judge that the county used when appointing Sen. Shannon Pinto, D-Tohatchi, to the state Senate.

Once Biel turns in her resignation as probate judge, the county will accept applications. The county will narrow down the applications to the top three to five candidates and then hear from each of those candidates during a meeting.

The County Commission hopes to make a decision on Dec. 15, however it could require a special session.

Biel won the seat as magistrate judge with 4,747 votes, or 71% of the votes. She is a Republican and faced Stephen Wayne, an independent candidate, who received 1,907 votes. Wayne had been appointed to the magistrate judge position to replace the late Judge Barry Sharer.

While Biel currently is serving as the probate judge, she has previously served as a magistrate judge.

The probate judge handles matters related to wills and estates.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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