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Croom named administrative law judge

Craig Croom, a former Wake County judge, has been appointed as an administrative law judge by Chief Judge Julian Mann.

Croom replaces Joe Webster who left late last year become U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Middle District.

Croom who has been in private practice since January, had served as a special Wake County Superior Court Judge in 2011-2012, as a Wake County District Court Judge from 1999-2011, and as an assistant district attorney from 1995-1999.

He also worked as a Wake County deputy sheriff for two years.

Mann reappointed chief administrative law judge

Julian Mann III has been reappointed to the position of chief Administrative Law Judge by Sarah Parker, the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Mann has held the post since 1989 when he was appointed by Chief Justice Jim Exum. He was later reappointed by Chief Justices Burley Mitchell and I. Beverly Lake Jr. Mann, a Raleigh native, was appointed to a four-year term.

The office of administrative hearings hears cases of complaints involving citizens and their government, state employment issues, and other cases.

New year's 'gifts' for administrative judges

At the first of the year, up to 2,000 people with mental disabilities living in group homes may find themselves without lodging because of a change in Medicaid rules.

Gov. Bev Perdue said last week that she's working on a solution, but for now, state officials, legislators, and advocacy groups are promoting a plan to flood the administrative court system with appeals from Medicaid recipients affected by the new rule.

Recipients' benefits will continue during their appeals, and idea is that pumping thousands of appeals into an administrative court system with fewer than a dozen judges will give the legislature time to fix the Medicaid problem when it gets back to work in late January.

Chief Administrative Law Judge Julian Mann said being handed thousands of cases at once would be difficult, but the court could hire temporary administrative judges, if necessary, to help handle the workload.

The administrative court has 10 judges available to hear cases.

Mann said he could not comment on using administrative appeals as a stall tactic.

"Our responsibility is to absorb as efficiently as possible the cases and dispose of them in a timely manner," Mann said. But, "if you pour enough water into the canal, it will eventually overflow."

Judge takes top post again

Judge Julian Mann has been reappointed as chief judge of the state's Office of Administrative Hearings.

It will be Mann's sixth consecutive four-year term, and four different N.C. chief justices have appointed him to the position over that time period. He was the second person appointed to the post after the office opened in 1986, and he has been there ever since.

"He has a reputation across North Carolina, as well as across the country, for his knowledge of administrative law," said Fred Morrison, a senior administrative law judge who has worked with Mann for decades.

"I think people from both sides of the political spectrum see how well-versed he is in such law and the value he is to this office," he added.

The office works to resolve conflicts arising from administrative law, such as when a citizen objects to an agency's ruling.

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