Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter will begin a five-year term as president judge of the Commonwealth Court next month stepping into a role outgoing President Judge James Gardner Colins has filled for 10 years .
The court unanimously elected Leadbetter to the post by secret ballot Tuesday. Her term will begin Jan. 2 when Colins steps down after two terms as president judge. Leadbetter said she’s honored by her colleagues’ confidence in her ability to oversee the court’s administrative functions, but conceded she has a lot to learn.
Asked whether she has an agenda for her term, Leadbetter said, “In terms of making changes, no. I need to get into the job for a while before I would.”
“My agenda is just to keep things running smoothly,” she said.
Leadbetter, a Republican, was elected to the Commonwealth Court in 1997 and faces a retention election in 2007. Colins, a Democrat, is completing his second non-consecutive term as president judge. He was elected president judge for a second time by his colleagues in 2002. His first term ran from 1992 to 1997.
--Peter Hall, Staff Reporter