SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) — Some residents in Sheffield aren’t happy with how the city council chose to appoint a new municipal judge.

On Monday, December 5, Polly Ruggles officially announced she would be retiring as municipal judge of Sheffield at the end of the year.

Sheffield Mayor Steve Stanley told News 19 that the city council then voted to appoint Leigh Anne Landis, an attorney based in Florence. As of noon on December 8, Landis had not yet accepted the offer.

Bennett Pugh, an attorney based in Sheffield, said that he didn’t like that the council chose to appoint a new judge without opening the application to the public.

“I was very shocked and surprised at how the process was handled,” Pugh said. “It should have been published. It should have been vetted with interviews. And that never happened.”

Mayor Stanley said that they chose to appoint Landis due to time constraints. He said that the current judge, Polly Ruggles, wanted to have the chance to work with the new judge before they officially took over the position.

Randa Hovater was the only city council member that voted against the appointment. She told News 19 that she would rather wait and open the position to the public.

She said that there are attorneys across Colbert County and Sheffield that are qualified for the position, and that they should have the chance to apply.

Pugh agreed with Hovater and said that the decision shows a severe lack of transparency from the council.

“Any government or governmental agency, they have to be transparent or they lose public trust,” Pugh said. “In this situation, the process was done quickly without any public knowledge.”

Mayor Stanley said that he believes Landis is well-qualified for the position and that the decision was made after Landis received several strong endorsements from court employees.