Senior Recorder’s Court Judge Michael Cielinski, who was under fire for his abrupt demeanor, was given another four-year term on a 9-1 vote of Columbus Council Tuesday night.
Attorney Kyle Fischer was nominated to replace Cielinski. Councilor Pop Barnes was the only one to vote against Cielinski. Recorder Mary Buckner and Recorders Pro Tem Michael Joyner and Cynthia Maisano were all reappointed by council without opposition.
Columbus attorney Bill Scrantom was the only one spoke before the vote. Scrantom endorsed Cielinski, without the judge’s knowledge.
“He can find far better spokesman than a civil trial attorney,” Scrantom said. “He’s no different now than 30 years ago when he was appointed. I recognize that he is abrupt.”
Former Councilor Julius Hunter had been under consideration, but by Tuesday’s vote it was a moot point. On Monday, Hunter was notified that he was ineligible because the city’s charter prohibits former councilors from holding appointed positions until a year after they leave office. Hunter, who lost his seat last year to Bruce Huff and left office Jan. 1, withdrew his name from consideration.
Cielinski had come under some criticism for his courtroom demeanor. Some critics said he was rude and disrespectful to those before him. His supporters said he was just being tough in a job that calls for it.
Cielinski, who has spent most of his life in Columbus, has served on the Recorder’s Court bench since 1981, and as senior judge since 1991.
He earns $42,144 plus city benefits. Buckner makes $39,135, also with benefits. The recorders pro tem make a flat $153 per half-day session they work, with no city benefits.
All four positions are appointed to four-year terms by Council.