A Fresno court commissioner has received a promotion.
Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Commissioner Amythest Freeman as a full judge, his office announced Thursday.
Freeman, a Democrat, served as a commissioner since last year. While a judge and commissioner essentially have the same authority, a judge is appointed by the governor and/or elected, while a commissioner is hired by the court to help out with caseloads.
She will serve in a new judicial seat created last year, increasing the Fresno County bench to 46 positions. There is at least one vacancy after Rosemary McGuire retired in January. Another open position is expected soon, when Judge Jon Kapetan’s retirement becomes official.
This is the 11th Newsom appointment for a vacant Fresno County position.
Prior to joining the bench, Freeman served as a senior deputy district attorney in Fresno County from 2003-2022. She prosecuted domestic violence and sexual assault cases.
She earned a Juris Doctor degree from San Joaquin College of Law. A bio on the SJCL website says she was the first in her family to attend college. Setting an example for her two young sons inspired her to attend law school.
All California Superior Court judges earn a $231,174 base salary. She will be up for election in 2024.
Enos Appointed to Madera County Judgeship
Newsom also announced the appointment of Brian Enos to the Madera County Superior Court. He comes from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Fresno, where he has served since 2005.
He was a senior associate attorney at Sagaser, Franson & Jones from 2000 to 2005 and an associate at Kimble, MacMichael & Upton from 1998 to 2000. Enos earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Enos fills a new position created on July 1, 2022. He is a Democrat.
Also in Politics 101 …
- Fresno dispatchers win big raises.
- New Coca-Cola plant approved.
Dispatchers Get a Raise
Fresno police dispatchers will receive a 14%-19% raise.
The Fresno City Council approved the new compensation with a 6-0 vote on Thursday. Mayor Jerry Dyer said that Fresno dispatchers will be the highest paid in the Central Valley.
“This will change the future of our dispatch center,” Dyer said.
The raises have several goals, including retaining and recruiting new dispatchers. More dispatchers will mean fewer unanswered 911 calls, Dyer said.
At full strength, there are 114 dispatchers and supervisors. Dyer said there are currently 14 vacancies.
Dyer hopes that giving raises to dispatchers replicates what happened last year when the city council made police officers the highest paid in the Central Valley — a nearly full-staffed department.
The raises will cost taxpayers $1.2 million a year.
“I don’t see it as a cost. I see it as an investment,” Dyer said.
Today, I joined the Fresno City Council to announce a 14% pay bump for our emergency services dispatchers.
These essential employees are the first people you talk to in an emergency, and this is the first step in making sure we’re fully staffed and answering calls quickly. pic.twitter.com/ZusMplG2CF
— Mayor Jerry Dyer (@MayorJerryDyer) March 30, 2023
Coca-Cola Plant Approved
The Fresno City Council approved a proposed Coca-Cola distribution plant in south Fresno after Councilman Miguel Arias won assurances of environmental improvements.
After winning approval from the planning commission in February, Arias appealed the decision — as is the right of councilmembers. He wanted the builder to work out issues with concerned neighbors represented by environmental groups.
The facility will include solar, electric vehicles, and an area within the plant for vehicles to wait while picking up and dropping off workers.
There are still some things that Arias wants hammered out, including a dedicated truck route in and out of the plant, and a maximum of two minutes for trucks to idle.
The city council approved the plant, 7-0.