Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Sullivan County Family Court Judge Mark Meddaugh with his family last Wednesday at the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello. From left: Daughter-in-law Melinda Meddaugh, son Joshua, Judge Meddaugh and his new granddaughter, Gwen, wife Robin, daughter-in-law Tracy and son Jonathan.
For Meddaugh, Family Court reigns supreme
By Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO Last Wednesday, Sullivan County Family Court Judge Mark Meddaugh held a press conference at the Sullivan County Government Center to announce his candidacy for reelection to the same position he's held for the last 20 years.
Meddaugh's wife of 34 years, Robin and family minus his youngest Ryan who is stationed in Ft. Stewart, GA. serving with the 3rd infantry division of U.S. Army were on hand to hear him declare his intention to serve a third term as Family Court Judge. Meddaugh put it best, saying,"twenty years ago I promised the citizens of Sullivan County that I would preside with compassion and fairness to find a workable solution to the disputes before me, and that I would work hard for a better Sullivan County."
"I am just as committed today as I was twenty years ago to making Sullivan County a better place for my children and your children, and now our grandchildren, to live," he continued.
Meddaugh, who served as Family Court Hearing Examiner for seven years prior to his first term as judge, is the longest serving, and the senior judge for the court, which will be celebrating its 50th year in existence later this year.
Sullivan County, which no-longer has a resident Supreme Court Justice, has recently asked Meddaugh to take a more active role in the Supreme Court, a void he has been more than willing to fill, being assigned up to 35 percent of the Supreme Court cases pending in Sullivan County.
"Although my obligations have expanded, I remain committed to the Family Court, because it is the only court where each day… you have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many people," said Meddaugh.
With the county and the state for that matter suffering extensive cuts in funding for its programs and services, Meddaugh acknowledged the challenges these cuts have placed before the court saying, "as a result of the budget cuts, our hours of operation have been cut, vacancies in our staff have gone unfilled and the services that support the Family Court have been reduced."
"The family court has been impacted in a number of different ways, forcing us to do more with less… in a time of reduced government resources, I remain committed to improve the efficiency of our courts and to provide the highest level of service to the public that we can," he explained.
Meddaugh thanked the crowd of his many supporters which included everyone from Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell, to former colleague, the Honorable Judge Burton Ledina saying, "I want to thank you for joining me and my family today, and I look forward to traveling throughout the County this year and, with the help of the good Lord and the wonderful people of Sullivan County, I am looking forward to continuing to serve as your Family Court Judge for the next ten years."