Editor’s note: The following is part of a question and answer series on candidates running in the municipal election on March 7. Candidates are asked questions regarding the city’s future.
Oscar Robinson is running for election to the municipal judge’s position. Robinson will be running against Arla Hitson and incumbent Fred Arnold.
1. What qualifications, certifications or training do you have relating to the job?
As a resident of the city of Portales with a solid educational background and professional academic career of 36 years in practical human resources management, this has provided me with the knowledge necessary for this office. I have also received certifications and training in employment relation laws.
Finally, I am currently a member of the juvenile community corrections panel, am continuously involved with various city committees, and served eight years as city councilor. Inclusively, all of the above relates to and prepares me for the position of municipal judge.
2. What is the most serious element of this job in your estimation?
The overall purpose of the municipal court is “to administer justice fairly and impartially, to resolve expeditiously disputes brought before it and serve the public by an accessible forum for resolutions of those disputes.”
The sum total of these are serious and vital elements and creates a just balance of ideals, each one equal in value and interchangeable in importance; therefore, making one of no less value than the other.
3. What should a citizen expect of their municipal judge?
Having made Portales my home for the past 16 years, our community has come to mean a great deal to me. Being a resident of this great community, I realize our need for a good municipal court; a court which promotes a positive relationship with the public and the court’s involved
As a citizen, one should expect the municipal judge to be stern yet exhibit common sense, foresight, honesty, humility, fairness, integrity, consistency, availability, understanding, altruism, and a willingness to provide good customer service. If elected, I will accept this responsibility with seriousness and good faith.
4. What hours should the municipal court operate, and why?
The operative hours of the municipal court should consider flexibility; therefore, the judge should be available. If elected, I will plan an immediate change in operating hours and be on-call to serve the public and authorities. The change in operating hours will be as follows: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – 8a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday – 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The purpose for this change is to better serve and accommodate the public. I believe this will be one step toward improving the court’s efficiency.
5. How will you approach the balance of serving the public and backing up the authority of local police?
A balance must be established or we all loose the chance of having a good and overall efficient municipal court. To assure we have balance, we must educate the public of their rights and responsibilities as citizens in their involvement with the municipal court.
One approach is to establish open lines of communication with local law enforcement authorities, respect that authority, and see that offenses are brought to the municipal court when the public violates the established laws and codes. Incorporating this, and more, will better achieve balance between the public and backing up the local police.