Urbana Law Director Gil “Skipp” Weithman has announced he will seek the Republican nomination for Champaign County Municipal Court judge this spring.
Earlier this month, the current municipal court judge, Susan Fornof-Lippencott, said she will not seek re-election after completing her term at the end of this year. A 1970 Mechanicsburg High School graduate, she has served as municipal court judge since 1995.
So far, Weithman is the only candidate who has filed for the position, said Kathy Meyer, director of the Champaign County Board of Elections. The deadline for candidates to file is Feb. 6.
Weithman, who has served as municipal prosecutor since 1990, also maintains a law practice representing clients in civil matters. He has served as the city law director since 1995. He has also served as a magistrate for mayor’s courts in Mechanicsburg, North Lewisburg and St. Paris, and said his experiences with the city and villages have provided him with a better understanding of the county’s needs.
“It’s just another extension of what I’ve been doing,” Weithman said of the position.
Among the reasons he decided to run for the position, Weithman said his experience will help him deal with several of the challenges facing the community.
In the past 15 years, he said there has been a significant increase in crimes related to drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, the state legislature has made changes in recent years to its sentencing guidelines to use options other than jail time for some low-level, non-violent offenders.
Weithman said the county also has had to deal with overcrowding in the Tri-County Jail.
“I understand the ongoing challenges of the court system in this county due to the increased caseload and changes to sentencing guidelines set by the state legislature,” he said.