Kristin Judge Resigns from County Board

New job with national cyber security group prompts decision

Kristin Judge is resigning from the Washtenaw County board of commissioners, effective Oct. 9. She went public with the news on Friday morning, sending a formal letter of resignation to board chair Conan Smith. A Democrat who was first elected in November 2008, Judge represents District 7, which covers Pittsfield Township. She was re-elected in November 2010 to a two-year term, which ends in December 2012.

Dan Smith, Kristin Judge, Wes Prater

From left: Washtenaw County commissioners Dan Smith (R-District 2), Kristin Judge (D-District 7), and Wes Prater (D-District 4), attending a meeting earlier this year of the county reapportionment commission. Judge announced her resignation from the county board on Friday.

Judge has accepted a job with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), which could put her in conflict with her elected role.

“My new position will focus on outreach efforts and will involve working with local governments across the nation,” Judge said in a written statement. “In my current role as county commissioner, I have been involved in cyber security initiatives at the local, state and federal level. To avoid an appearance of conflict between my role as commissioner and my new position, it is best served that I resign from elected office before beginning work with local governments across the country.” [.pdf of press release] [.pdf of resignation letter]

At a county board retreat earlier this year, Judge cited issues of public safety, and her activism against Walmart – because of safety issues the store in Pittsfield Township posed – as reasons prompting her to run for office in 2008. She’s been active in public safety issues on the local, state and national levels, and more recently in efforts related specifically to cyber security.

Judge currently serves on the executive committee for MS-ISAC. According to the organization’s website, its mission is ”to improve the overall cyber security posture of state, local, territorial and tribal governments.” Established in 2003, it is now a division of the nonprofit Center for Internet Security.

In addition to her work as county commissioner, Judge serves on the judiciary and public safety committee for the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC), and is a member of the justice and public safety steering committee for the National Association of Counties (NACo). She was instrumental establishing the Washtenaw County Cyber Citizenship Coalition, and in organizing the Oct. 7 Michigan Cyber Summit, a day-long event that will serve as the kickoff for National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Keynote speakers include Janet Napolitano, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and U.S. Congressman John Dingell.

Although MS-ISAC is based in a suburb of Albany, N.Y., Judge plans to remain in Pittsfield Township. Her blog – “All Politics Is Local” – has focused on issues related to local and state government.

Judge is one of eight Democrats on the 11-member county board. The board is responsible for appointing a replacement within 30 days of the resignation. Between Oct. 9 and Nov. 9, the board has two regular meeting scheduled: On Wednesday, Oct. 19 and Wednesday, Nov. 2. The next board meeting is on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Responding to a Chronicle query via email, county clerk Larry Kestenbaum stated that when a vacancy on the board occurs during an odd-numbered year, a special primary and special general election are required. A resignation at this point will likely result in a February 28, 2012 primary (along with the presidential primary) and a May 2012 special general election.

A special election costs essentially nothing, according to Kestenbaum, if there is already an election scheduled. A standalone special election would cost about $1,200 per precinct, including ballot printing, election worker wages, required advertising, etc., but not counting the time of regular staff.

County commissioners are elected to two-year terms. The next general election for their seats is in November 2012. Redistricting that was approved earlier this year will be implemented for the next election cycle. For background, see Chronicle coverage: “County Board Loses 2 Seats in Redistricting.”

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  1. By Jeff Spindler
    September 30, 2011 at 9:43 am | permalink

    I wish she would run for the bench. And you know why. :)

  2. By Rod Johnson
    September 30, 2011 at 10:30 am | permalink

    I don’t know why, or what that smiley is supposed to mean.

  3. September 30, 2011 at 10:53 am | permalink

    I think Jeff relishes the notion of a Judge Judge.

  4. By Mary Morgan
    September 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm | permalink

    A bill introduced this year in the state Senate – S.B. 204 – would eliminate the special election in odd-numbered years, and allow the appointee for a vacant county commissioner seat to complete the term. Here’s a link to a recent Senate Fiscal Agency analysis of the legislation: [link]

  5. September 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm | permalink

    Jeff Irwin was first elected to the BOC in such a special election. The BOC had chosen to appoint a different person, who served exactly one month before losing the primary. Jeff beat 3 primary opponents by a determined campaign.

  6. By Scratchingmyhead
    October 1, 2011 at 9:29 am | permalink

    I’m sorry to hear that Kristin Judge is resigning from the board. I always thought she was one of the more conscientious Commissioners and very active in taking her responsibilities as a commissioner seriously. I hope that whoever replaces her will be just as effective and not just a continuation of the good ole party line.

  7. By Kristin Judge
    October 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm | permalink

    @Scratchingmyhead Thank you for your kind words. I do take public service and the responsibilities that come with it seriously. It was a difficult decision to step down, but I am continuing to serve in my new role. Thanks for taking an interest and being a part of the conversation!