Judge Ommert leaves office

July 18, 1997

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Earlier this month John Ommert took his grandson fishing, the first time in 16 years that he's had time for such leisurely pleasures.

Ommert, 55, retired as a Franklin County District Justice on June 1, ending a tenure on the bench that began in 1981 and took him through three elections. His only opponent was in a primary the first time around, he said.

Ommert leaves office with 2 1/2 years to go on his current six-year term.

"I enjoyed my years of service, but I got to the point where I just wasn't enjoying the job. I had the time in to qualify for early retirement and I hadn't planned on running for re-election," Ommert said.

He was one of six district justices serving Franklin County. Those remaining will share the work left in Ommert's office in the Antrim Township municipal building on Antrim Church Road until Gov. Tom Ridge appoints a permanent replacement sometime in October.


Ommert said he is recommending that his secretary, Shirley Shatzer, be appointed as his replacement. She has completed the district justice certification program at Wilson College.

"She worked for me for 14 years and she is outstanding," he said.

He said when he first took office an average caseload was about 1,500 a year. This year it will go over 7,000 cases, he said.

He said he thinks that the county could use two more district justices just to keep up with the growing number of cases. The type of crime being committed in the county has also become more serious, he said.

Ommert said he has no immediate retirement plans other than to spend more time with his family. He has been placed on senior status, which means he will be on call to be sent anywhere in the state to fill in when a district justice is needed.

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