Bowden, Enzor: Integrity restored

Published 1:02 am Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Both candidates for probate judge in March’s Republican primary said they helped restore integrity to the office.

In 2008, Sherrie Phillips, then-judge, resigned her position after being indicted on criminal charges for which she was later found guilty.

Leland Enzor Jr. was appointed to the post temporarily by the Administrative Office of Courts. Later, Gov. Bob Riley gave Ben Bowden the job for the remainder of Phillips’ term. Now both men want to be elected to the job.

“I have every day to restore integrity to probate office,” Bowden said in the Civitan forum at LBW Tuesday night.

“In 2008, the Supreme Court appointed me, Leland Enzor, to come to probate office and fix it,” Enzor said. “The staff at that time in the probate office, was shellshocked Together, we cleaned up the mess.

“Money was not stolen in 2008,” Enzor said. “Hope and trust was taken. It was an honor and privilege to restore that to you, my people.”

A Covington County jury found Phillips guilty of theft by deception of $1.8 million and intentionally using her official position for unlawful personal gain for herself or a family. She is currently incarcerated with an expected release date of Oct. 23, 2012.

Each was asked in the forum what his policy would be for appointing guardians or conservators to oversee the estates of those unable to take care of themselves or their affairs.

Enzor said, “You can’t answer that in 30 seconds. You first determine if it’s necessary. Then you look for family members and qualified, competent people.”

Bowden said that he has worked “spread that work out.”

“It had become concentrated in just a few people,” he said. “We have gone out and recruited high-quality citizens with good character. Another thing is not to be too quick to appoint somebody over somebody’s funds. The Social Security Administration and the VA both monitor funds.”

We don’t need another layer.”

They also were asked about term limits. Bowden said he supports term limits for many offices, and thinks a term limit for the probate judge’s office should be three or four terms.

Enzor said there should be some term limits for judges and that he aspires to run for two terms as probate judge.