Judge has competition to keep his job in Littleton

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Judge James Anderson is a finalist for his own position as Littleton's presiding municipal judge, along with six others.

Joining him are Littleton Associate Judge Julie Anderson, Littleton City Prosecutor Tricia McCarthy, Centennial Presiding Judge Ford Wheatley, attorneys Tomee Crespin and Corrine Magid, and longtime Arapahoe County Judge Ethan Feldman, who left the bench last year for an unsuccessful bid for district attorney in the 18th Judicial District.

The judgeship is a contract position. Anderson's two-year contract was to expire on Dec. 21, but council voted Dec. 4 to extend it until Jan. 31.

“Council held an executive session on Oct. 2, 2012, to discuss the contract renewal process,” writes City Manager Michael Penny. “Council indicated an interest in initiating a process to evaluate qualified … respondents for the position.”

Anderson was a central figure in the firing of former City Attorney Suzanne Staiert last September, just hours after she filed a sexual-harassment complaint against him with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The city ultimately settled with Staiert, paying her $143,000 while denying any wrongdoing. Staiert withdrew the complaint and went on to become the deputy secretary of state.

After leaving the city, Staiert asked the Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Regulation Council to investigate Anderson's behavior.

“(Anderson's) actions were inappropriate and unprofessional,” wrote John Gleason, regulation counsel, in a letter dated Nov. 7. “After a review of the evidence and interviews with various witnesses, however, we conclude there is not clear and convincing evidence of a violation of the disciplinary rules.”

Anderson has never publicly commented on the situation. But during a recorded meeting with Staiert and human-relations director Erich WonSavage, he never denies any of the behavior Staiert alleged, including giving her gifts and showing up at meetings just to see her. He simply says it was not his intent to make her uncomfortable.

Council appointed Anderson in May 2010. He has served as a municipal relief judge for the Aurora Municipal Court and an assistant municipal judge for the Centennial Municipal Court. He was a district court magistrate for the State of Colorado Judicial Department for eight years, where he presided over a family-court division. He was also a deputy district attorney in the First Judicial District Attorney's Office.

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