News

Judicial poll: Flannelly again the highest ranked candidate

Written by Rick Lee, York Daily Record | Apr 7, 2015 7:47 AM
Judicial candidates ranked.jpg

(York) -- Former York County judge and current county solicitor Michael Flannelly overwhelmingly received "highly qualified" accolades in the local bar association's judicial candidate poll released Monday.

Seven attorneys are running for two seats on the Court of Common Pleas left vacant by retirements.

Flannelly, who served a year and a half on the bench when he was appointed in July 2012 to fill the seat left open by the sudden death of Judge Clarence "Chuck" Patterson, received more than an 80 percent highly qualified approval from the 316 bar members who responded to the poll.

He was followed by Neil Slenker, who received a 42 percent highly qualified approval rating.

Flannelly has run, and lost, three times for York County court. Previous bar polls ranked him the most highly qualified candidate in 2009, when he lost to Patterson and Judge Harry Ness, the second-most highly qualified in 2011 when he lost to judges Craig Trebilcock and Andrea Marceca Strong, and the most qualified in 2013, when he lost to Judge Todd Platts.

Asked Monday about campaigning a fourth time, Flannelly said both he and his wife, Peggy, have been reaching out to the county's "super voters."

"I need to be able to communicate to the voters that this is kind of the only objective information on the candidates," Flannelly said. "Of course, everybody says they are qualified. But the bar association poll is one way to get objective information about the candidates."

Less than 2 percent of the responding bar members -- five attorneys -- thought that Flannelly was not presently qualified to sit on the bench.

Attorney Slenker said he "was humbled and honored" by the bar members' response to his candidacy.

Of the poll, Slenker compared it to peer review in the workplace where it is used as "a way to measure competency."

Kathleen Prendergast was third in the "highly qualified" category with an 18 percent approval rating. Almost half the voting bar members found Prendergast "qualified" to be judge.

Deemed largely not qualified presently for the bench were former assistant district attorney Karen Comery and civil attorney Christopher Menges. Both received more than a 40 percent disapproval rate. In 2011, Menges finished third by 457 votes in the Republican primary among seven candidates.

Menges said Monday that he had not expected to do well in the poll despite his finish in 2011.

"I'm certainly not surprised," he said. "These things tend to be a bit of a popularity poll. It is what it is."

Menges noted that a number of current York County judges did not do well in their pre-election polls.

A large number of voting bar members had no opinion of whether District Justice Thomas Reilly and attorney Carl Anderson are qualified to be judges.

Comery, Reilly and Anderson could not be reached Monday for comment.

According to the bar association's media release that accompanied the poll results, "The poll was undertaken as a public service and not for the purpose of endorsing any specific candidate or any political party. It is not a popularity poll."

The bar releases a judicial candidate poll before every judicial election.

All candidates are cross-filed, and voters will elect two candidates from both parties to be on the November general election ballot.

Judges on the York County Court of Common Pleas serve 10-year terms.

Contact Rick Lee at 717-495-1782.


This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF. 

Published in News, York

Tagged under , ,

back to top

Post a comment

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »