Poll: Flannelly, Slenker highly qualified to be York County judges


The York County solicitor has once again received high ratings from his fellow attorneys, according to a poll released Monday on the qualifications of the candidates running for Court of Common Pleas judge in the 2015 primary election.

Of the 316 members who responded to a poll by the York County Bar Association, 80 percent, or 254, said Mike Flannelly is "highly qualified," according to the poll. That's the highest rating of all seven candidates vying for two open seats on the York County bench.

"I'm very pleased and grateful with the results," Flannelly said, adding the poll is the "only objective information" out there.

An additional 14 percent, or 43 members, rated him as "qualified" while 2 percent, or five members, said he's "not presently qualified," the poll says.

About 61 percent of the bar association's members responded to the survey, according to a news release from the organization.

Results: Neil Slenker, a partner with Stock and Leader, also fared well in the poll. Forty-three percent, or 135 members, said he's "highly qualified" and an additional 25 percent, or 80 members, said he's "qualified," according to the poll.

"It's an honor and it's humbling when (a majority of) your peers rate you highly qualified to hold an important position such as judge," he said.

Rounding out the three candidates who received the highest approval rating is York City attorney Kathleen Prendergast.

Eighteen percent, or 57 members, said she's "highly qualified" and 47 percent, or 148 members, said she's "qualified," according to the poll.

"I'm glad I'm in the top three," she said, adding the survey is just one piece of information voters will consider when they cast their ballots.

Attorneys were told to evaluate the candidates on their professional qualifications, temperament and integrity. Attorneys were asked to render "no opinion" if their knowledge of the candidates was not sufficient to provide insight into the person's qualifications, the release says.

Didn't do well: Not all candidates receive high praise in the poll.

Civil attorney Chris Menges and former prosecutor Karen Comery received the highest disapproval ratings with more than 40 percent saying they are "not presently qualified." Tom Reilly, a Seven Valleys-area district judge, rounded out the bottom three with 24 percent, or 75 members, saying he's "not presently qualified," the poll says.

Of those polled, 57 percent, or 179 members, had "no opinion" of Carl Anderson, a York City attorney who once worked as a lawyer in former Gov. Ed Rendell's administration.

Previous poll: Though the bar association poll is information voters can consider, it doesn't guarantee an Election Day win for the highest rated candidate.

When Flannelly last ran for judge in 2013, 82 percent of those polled said he was "highly qualified."

However, Flannelly lost the seat to former U.S. Rep. Todd Platts, who was rated by most members — 77 percent, or 247 of the 320 respondents — as "not presently qualified."

"I'm going to do my best to convey the results to the voters," Flannelly said of the poll released Monday.

The primary is Tuesday, May 19. All seven candidates are cross-filed, meaning they'll appear on the Democratic and Republican ballots. The two candidates who receive the most votes from each party will advance to the November general election.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.