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City judge, court solicitor selected
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Porterdale has hired a new municipal judge and solicitor, following the resignation of former solicitor Qader Baig on May 23.

Robert Mumford, who owns Robert Mumford & Associates law firm in Conyers, was appointed municipal judge, while Robert Piccarreto was appointed court solicitor. Both were chosen

Mumford will replace former city judge David Strickland, a Covington attorney. Mumford began his law career in 1978as an assistant district attorney, moving up to district attorney and eventually serving one year as a Superior Court Judge in the Rockdale Judicial Circuit, according to his application letter. He wrote that he has experience with traffic law and cases, which are common in municipal court.

He also was a state representative for District 95, which contains a northwestern portion of Newton County, from 2005 to 2008. The council unanimously appointed Mumford as city judge.

Piccarreto was named interim city solicitor, because he did not have the required eight years of experience as a practicing attorney.

The city is going to issue a request for qualifications, lowering the requirement from eight years to five years to give other applicants a chance to match Piccarreto's qualifications. The council approved the interim appointment, with Councilman Robert Foxworth opposing.
Piccatteto has worked as a prosecutor and public defender for the city of Auburn, Ga. He has also served as a law enforcement officer and is a former U.S. Army Ranger, according to his application letter. He currently has a private practice in Duluth, including an office in Columbia.

The committee which made the recommendations for appoint was composed of City Manager Bob Thomson, City Attorney Tim Chambers, Mayor Bobby Hamby, Councilwoman Arline Chapman and Police Chief Geoff Jacobs.

Baig originally resigned saying he felt that the "Council's intent to seek alternate candidates may be founded upon disappointment in the manner in which a single case was recently handled..."

Baig was referring to a case where a Conyers Police Department officer received a DUI, but whose plea allowed his sentence to be lowered to reckless driving. Baig wrote that the mayor, city manager and chief of police all supported the case's outcome.

The council said it wanted to ensure that the court is "staffed by qualified and respected professionals," a process best accomplished by "periodically opening these positions for review and renewal in a public and transparent process."

The position of judge was advertised for the same reason, city officials said.