Probate judge candidates would approach position differently

Published 3:00 am Saturday, June 2, 2018

The two candidates for probate judge in Pike County would bring different approaches to the office.

Michael Bunn, local attorney, said he would be a visible member of the community.

“The probate judge does a lot behind the scenes,” Bunn said. “I’m going to continue to make sure I’m out in the public working with folks. I’m happy to be involved with certain boards and such that that office is involved in … I’ll ride in a parade or two.”

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Starling said he “wouldn’t do anything different” than he does currently as city clerk for Troy, which he said is keeping a low profile and doing his job to the best of his ability.

Both candidates said working with the local commission is important for the probate judge.

“Those fees (raised by the probate judge) are controlled by the probate judge,” Starling said. “If those fees can help the county, then I think it should be shared with the county. The probate office receives funds from the county, so I think it should be shared … You’ve got to work as a team. You’ve got to cooperate with all those people down there.

“The probate judge used to be the chairman of the commission, but that position was too powerful. Now it is a balance of power. I can only see jobs through my eyes, which is ministerial. I would take that job as probate and run it like I do now. I wouldn’t try to stand out, I would run my office just like I run the office now. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to grandstand above anything the council has done.”

Bunn said he would also want to work with the commission if elected.

“I think that there was a time when those two groups weren’t gelling, but I think they’ve come to an understanding,” Bunn said. “I believe the probate court and county commission should work together when appropriate to use some of those funds (raised by the probate judge) to help the county. I want to be supportive of the county commission; I don’t think my job is to launch any campaign to change their mindview of what they’re doing.

“My interest is to be a benefit to them, not to overtake them – that’s not my job … I see lots of opportunities to work together, synergies we can use.”

The two candidates will square off in the Republican primary on Tuesday, June 5. There is no challenger for whichever candidate is named the Republican nominee