TOPEKA — Judge Steve Hilgers has announced retirement, and a search for his replacement in the 9th Judicial District has begun.


The 9th Judicial District includes Harvey and McPherson counties.


The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking nominations to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in McPherson County created by Hilgers' Jan. 8 retirement.


Justice Evelyn Wilson, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 9th Judicial District, said nominees can apply or be nominated, but it must be on a nomination form and include the nominee's signature.


Kansas law requires that this district magistrate judge be a resident of McPherson County at the time of taking office and while holding office; a graduate of a high school, a secondary school, or the equivalent; and either a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas or able to pass an examination given by the Supreme Court to become certified within 18 months.


Nominations must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk of the district court in Harvey or McPherson counties, the clerk of the appellate courts in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka, or online at www.kscourts.org/Judges/Become-a-Judge.


The nominating commission will convene by videoconference at 2 p.m. Dec. 30, to review applications. The meeting will be livestreamed on the Kansas judicial branch YouTube channel.


The nominating commission will convene to interview nominees at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 12, and reconvene Jan. 13. The location will be announced. Interviews are open to the public. The commission will then appoint a district magistrate judge.


After serving one year in office, the new magistrate judge must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the incumbent will serve a four-year term.


The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Wilson as the nonvoting chair; Amie Bauer, of Lindsborg; Michael Androes, Ann Elliott and Harris Terry, of McPherson; and Thomas Adrian, Jana McKinney, John Robb, and George "Chip" Westfall, of Newton.


One original and 11 copies of the completed nomination form and supporting letters must be submitted in paper format by noon Friday, Dec. 11, to Justice Evelyn Wilson, Kansas Judicial Center, 301 S.W. 10th Ave., Topeka, KS 66612-1507.