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York County will soon begin its search for a new solicitor with its long-time top legal advisor starting his elected term on the county Court of Common Pleas bench in January.

With a two-month window before Mike Flannelly is sworn in as judge, county officials said they'll start looking for a new lawyer in the coming weeks.

"That's going to become a priority in the next few weeks," said Commissioner Chris Reilly, adding he hopes to have the position filled by the start of 2016.

Flannelly and attorney Chris Menges, of Warrington Township, were elected to 10-year terms Tuesday, beating out York City attorney Kathleen Prendergast for two open seats. They will be sworn in Jan. 4.

Search: A few people have shown interest in filling Flannelly's spot in county government, but no formal interviews have been conducted, Reilly said.

"I'm sure there are lot of people who are qualified," he said.

The ideal candidate for Reilly is someone with knowledge in municipal law who also has experience in the courtroom, he said.

Doug Hoke, the vice president commissioner, expects the search will get underway pretty soon.

Both Reilly and Hoke said they suspect commissioner-elect Susan Byrnes will be included in the selection process. She unseated three-term Commissioner Steve Chronister in Tuesday's municipal election.

"I think she should be included in the interview process," Hoke said.

A timetable hasn't been set.

Though Flannelly will spend the coming weeks preparing for the bench, he said he'll stay on as solicitor until he's sworn in and intends to help with the transition process.

On the bench: Flannelly previously served as a county judge for a year-and-a-half when he was appointed to the post in 2012 following Judge Clarence "Chuck" Patterson's untimely death.

During that time, Flannelly served in family court and focused on juvenile delinquency cases while assistant county solicitor Don Reihart filled in for Flannelly.

Flannelly said he expects to be reassigned to the same area of law come January.

Menges said he, too, will be assigned to the family law bench. Nearly all incoming judges in York County receive that assignment.

Flannelly was appointed solicitor in 2004 and returned to post last year after loosing an election for judge in 2013.

In that time, he became the go-to guy for legal questions commissioners had and represented the county as its litigator, Hoke said.

"I just hope we can find the right person for the job," he said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

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