RACINE — Rob Weber will once again strike the gavel in Racine Municipal Court.

On Tuesday, Racine’s City Council selected the former municipal judge and former city attorney at a special meeting to fill the municipal judge position. The council then voted that his starting date will be April 1.

Weber publicly announced his interest in the position shortly after Rebecca Mason’s announcement in January that she was stepping down. Weber will serve through April 2020, when the post is next scheduled to be up for election and will receive a salary of $60,000 plus benefits. He told the council he does plan on running for re-election.

“This community has been so good to me for so many years,” said Weber. “I would love to finish my career in public service.”

Other applicants

Weber and three other candidates were interviewed by the council on Tuesday: John Buchaklian with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Milwaukee; Thomas Binger with the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office; and Thomas Durkin, an attorney with the Becker, French and Durkin law firm in Racine.

In his answer to one of the questions, Weber said he was “glad to share the stage with these particular gentlemen.”

“All four of us, I believe, are qualified for this job,” he said. “Perhaps the answers (to the council’s questions) seem repetitive after a while.”

Weber and Buckaklian have both run for the municipal judge position before and lost to Mason. Both men applied for the municipal judge position in 2016 after former Judge Mark Nielsen was elected to the Racine County Circuit Court, and Buckaklian ran against Mason in the 2018 election.

Binger ran for Racine County district attorney in 2016 when Rich Chiapete announced he was not seeking re-election but lost to current District Attorney Tricia Hanson.

Aside from previous experience as a municipal judge and city attorney, Weber cited his management experience as a supervisor at District Court. One of the council’s questions was regarding management, and Weber said that he believed key qualities necessary for a good manager were consistency, humor and patience.

“You have to accommodate people and be consider of their own individuality ... Treat people in a way that you would treat your own family,” he said. “I try to make everyone comfortable, and I believe I have.”

Weber said his current legal practice is limited, so he would have ample time to devote to the position.

Of the 13 council votes cast (aldermen Q.A. Shakoor II and James Morgenroth were not present), Weber received seven, Durken three, Buckaklian two and Binger one.

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Christina Lieffring covers the City of Racine and the City of Burlington and is a not-bad photographer. In her spare time she tries to keep her plants and guinea pigs alive and happy.

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