York County is losing its solicitor but gaining a judge.
The state Senate on Saturday confirmed York County solicitor Michael Flannelly as the county's newest judge.
He will fill the seat on the bench left vacant when Judge Chuck Patterson died of a heart attack last year.
Flannelly was a "solid solicitor and will be a great judge," said President Commissioner Steve Chronister.
"We have mixed emotions because he did such a good job (as solicitor)," Chronister said.
There is still one more step needed before Flannelly, 56, of Spring Garden Township becomes a York County Common Pleas judge - he has to take the oath of office.
A date when Flannelly will be sworn in has not yet been set, Chronister said.
Career: State Sen. Mike Waugh, R-Shrewsbury, submitted Flannelly's name to Gov. Tom Corbett's office last year. Corbett then nominated Flannelly to fill the vacant seat in early June.
Flannelly has been the county's solicitor since 2004.
Commissioner Doug Hoke said Flannelly is man for the job but added he's leaving big shoes to be filled.
"I'm personally happy for Mike," Hoke said. "I think the county will be at a loss."
Flannelly has been a lawyer in York since 1983, working with the firm that is now CGA for 10 years and working in private practice for 10 years before he became county solicitor about eight years ago.
He had run unsuccessfully for the bench three times, most recently in 2011.
"It's kind of been a long odyssey to get this point," Flannelly said.
Solicitor: Flannelly's days on the campaign trail are far from over. He will have to run in the May municipal election if he wants to secure the seat for a full 10-year term.
Flannelly said he will seek the seat in next year's election.
County commissioners will have to sort out who would replace Flannelly when he fills Patterson's seat, Chronister said.
When Flannelly is sworn in, he'll be given a leave of absence from his county job and could return if he isn't elected in May, Chronister said.
In the mean time, Flannelly said assistant solicitor Donald Reihart is "more than capable" of handling the county's legal issues.
Friends: Patterson died unexpectedly Nov. 21 after suffering a heart attack at the York County Judicial Center. He was 62.
He was elected judge in November 2009 and became York County's first black judge when he took his seat on the York County Court of Common Pleas in January 2010.
Flannelly, who was friends with Patterson, said it will be impossible to replace Patterson.
"All you can try to do is emulate Judge Patterson," Flannelly said. "Trying to replace him is impossible."
Commissioner Chris Reilly could not be reached for comment.
- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.