Like most new retirees, Glenn Hartley is looking forward to having the freedom to spend more time with his family, travel, ride his motorcycle and maybe even go fishing.
“I’m ready to do some of those things you do when you retire,” Hartley said Friday, his last day on the job as Lincoln County Circuit Court Branch II judge.
Hartley came to Merrill 38 years ago as a young attorney. He practiced law with J. Michael Nolan – who went on to a lengthy tenure as Lincoln County’s Branch I judge – Len Schmidt and Jim Koppelman. When Lincoln County created a Branch II court in 1999, Hartley was elected to be the first judge in the new court. He was re-elected in 2005 and 2011. He announced his retirement in March of this year.
Hartley said he’s going to miss the people he’s worked with over the years in the Lincoln County legal system. Hartley has been known to appreciate humor in the workplace.
“I always say, it’s a serious job, but let’s not take ourselves too seriously,” he said.
During a send-off for Hartley Friday, court reporter Leslie Johnson presented a Top 15 list of favorite Hartley sayings, including such gems as “Let’s rock” (often used just prior to taking the bench) and “It’s like trying to nail jello to a tree” (often referring to the task of rounding up all the necessary parties to conduct a proceeding).
Hartley’s philosophy for meting out justice was always straightforward.
“I always try to do the right thing,” he said. “That’s what a judge does. I think there’s a time to be a big softie and a time to be a hard-nosed judge; I think I do a little of each.”
At Friday’s retirement party, Hartley thanked all the people who he has worked with over the years, and especially his wife, Barb, for her support. He was presented with the American flag that has hung behind the Branch II bench.
When a judge resigns mid-term, the governor appoints a replacement to serve the remainder of the term. As of Hartley’s retirement, that appointment had not been announced.