Flannelly, Menges elected to York County bench


Mike Flannelly is heading back to the bench in the York County Court of Common Pleas.

The 59-year-old county solicitor won in a landslide and will be joined by fellow incoming judge Chris Menges, 64, when he returns to the bench at the start of the year.

"We're ecstatic," said Flannelly, who ran for judge four times before finally winning on Tuesday. "It's been a dream of mine for a long time."

Flannelly, who received enough votes in the primary to appear as both a Republican and a Democrat in the municipal election, served as a Common Pleas judge for about a year and half after he was appointed in 2012. But he lost an election — to former congressman Todd Platts — to stay on the bench.

Results: Flannelly led the pack, receiving 44,751 votes, according to unofficial results from the county's election office.

Despite a new job beckoning, Flannelly said he'll remain the county's solicitor until he and Menges are sworn in at the start of 2016.

Menges, a Warrington Township resident who has been an attorney for nearly 40 years, appeared on the Republican ballot and received 30,998 votes.

"It feels great," Menges said.

Throughout the campaign, Menges touted a one-family, one-judge plan in which one judge would be assigned to a family to hear all their court proceedings.

He said he plans to talk his soon-to-be fellow judges about implementing the plan.

"I'll try to convince the other judges to implement it in 2016," he said.

Kathleen Prendergast, a 52-year-old York City attorney, received 24,726 votes, according to unofficial results.

Prendergast is a registered Republican but received enough Democratic votes in the primary to appear as a Democrat on Tuesday's ballot, which she said hurt her in the GOP-strong county.

"It's hard to run from Democrat side," she said.

Menges wouldn't be able to serve a full 10-year term since Pennsylvania judges must retire at the end of the year when they turn 70.

However, a measure being considered in the state House would allow voters to change the state Constitution through a referendum and raise the retirement age to 75.

Shortage remains: Despite the addition of two new judges, the county still isn't up to its full compliment. In addition to retirement, Judge Craig T. Trebilcock set to spend all of next year on active duty with the U.S. Army.

Come January, there will be 11 judges on the bench, far fewer than the 15 the county could have.

To help cope with the shortage, outgoing President Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh, who was slated to retire at the end of this year, delayed hanging up the robe until the end of 2016.

Additional judges could be appointed by the state.

Prendergast said she'd like to be considered if legislators decide to appoint judges.

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

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.