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All three candidates for the York County Court of Common Pleas will take part in a public forum next week in the lead up to the municipal election.

York County solicitor Mike Flannelly and York City-based attorneys Chris Menges and Kathleen Prendergast will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot with hopes of filling two vacant seats on the county bench. During the forum, the candidates will face questions developed by a panel of community leaders and attorneys, according to a news release from the York County Bar Association, which is co-hosting the event.

"The point of this is to educate the voters," said Victoria Connor, CEO of the bar, adding common pleas judges in York County are likely to be retained once they are on the bench, making the election process very important.

The forum, to be moderated by G. Terry Madonna of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Evelyn and Earle Wolf Hall on the York College campus, 441 Country Club Road.

The candidates: Judges elected to the Court of Common Pleas hear civil and criminal cases as well as other matters.

Flannelly, 59, of Spring Garden Township, secured enough primary votes to appear on the ballot as both a Republican and a Democrat. He'll be joined by Menges, 64, of Warrington Township, on the Republican ballot and Prendergast, 52, of York City on the Democratic side.

They beat out four other candidates in the May primary. The top two vote-getters in the upcoming election will earn seats on the bench.

Menges wouldn't be able to serve a full 10-year term since Pennsylvania states judges must retire at the end of the year when they turn 70. However, a measure, House Bill 90, to raise the retirement age to 75 is in the Senate. There have been similar bills in the past, but none have been signed into law.

Common Pleas judges are elected to 10-year terms and are paid $176,572 annually.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

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