Word at the Martin Township Board meeting Wednesday night was that it’s a solid bet that Allegan County Prosecutor Roberts Kengis will be the next Allegan County Circuit Court Judge.
County Commissioner Don Black told Township Board members that Kengis has expressed a strong interest in filling the vacancy that came up abruptly and surprisingly by the resignation of Judge Kevin Cronin. Three more years remain on Cronin’s six-year term and his last day on the bench will be Friday, Jan. 12.
Gov. Rick Snyder will be charged with appointing Cronin’s successor, but more than a few officials have been putting in a good word for Kengis, including Black, who called him “a good guy” who will take over judicial duties with a working knowledge of Allegan County’s court system.
Kengis was elected to his first term as prosecutor in November 2016 and has been serving in the post for a little more than a year.
Kengis last week appeared at the Watson Township Board meeting to tell more than 60 in attendance he is unequivocally opposed to marijuana dispensaries in the county, even though Snyder signed a bill in 2016 and the State Legislature passed it, permitting such facilities with local government’s blessings.
Cronin was first elected to the Circuit Court post in 2008 in a very close, contentious and controversial election race. Since then he has been embroiled in a series of inside issues, most notably a feud with Chief Judge Marge Bakker over the right to appoint law clerks.
Black said he doesn’t know why Cronin resigned so suddenly with three years left in his term, but noted he is a heavy smoker and might have health issues.