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Alpharetta appoints Zimmerman judge

First appointed magistrate of city

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Alpharetta officially announced its first appointed judge at the Oct. 21 City Council meeting – Judge Barry Zimmerman.

Alpharetta was the second-to-last city in the state to elect its judges, Roswell being the other one. The City Council voted in 2011 to change their charter to allow judges to be appointed rather than elected.

Judge James Matoney has served as judge of Alpharetta for the past eight years.

City staff weeded through 65 applicants and selected a handful of the best, from which the City Council interviewed and made their selection – Zimmerman.

“The cream rose to the top,” said Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle to Zimmerman. “Ultimately, it really wasn’t a question. We were really pleased with the resume you had and the experience you had.”

For the past 33 years, Zimmerman has been both a part-time municipal court judge and a part-time magistrate court judge, in the Atlanta, Alpharetta and Roswell Municipal Courts and in the Fulton County Magistrate Court. Six years ago, he was appointed as the chief judge for the newly formed city of Milton, another part-time position, where he still sits today. Zimmerman is also a designated Fulton County Superior Court judge, allowing him to assist the police and detectives throughout the northern portions of Fulton County.

Zimmerman will be sworn into his office in January along with the councilmembers who will be elected in November.

“This will make sure the court system will work seamlessly for many years,” Matoney said of the appointment.

“This court runs because there are good people all through it,” Zimmerman said. “It doesn’t take just a judge. I don’t expect to let you down.”

Also at the meeting:

Alpharetta will spend $442,000 on designing improvements to the Rucker Road corridor.

For several years, the city has hoped to help traffic and safety along what is one of the busiest thoroughfares in the region. A number of public hearings were held throughout the past year to determine what the residents would like to see in improvements. Sidewalks, a center median and intersection improvements were among the list of requests.

Now, a design team has to turn that wish list into a workable plan for the two-and-a-half mile stretch of road.

Engineering Director Pete Sewczwicz said it will take about a year to complete the designs. He is expecting the project to be completed using entirely local funding.

“It’s been studied and restudied for years. This is one of the key corridors in town that needs improvements. I’m pleased to see this get going,” said Councilmember Chris Owens.