Originally created 01/31/98

Senator suggests official



AIKEN -- A Wagener insurance agent has been recommended as the newest magistrate in Aiken County.

Donna Williamson of Wagener Insurance and Realty has been named by state Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-West Columbia, as the choice to replace Wagener Magistrate Olin T. Corbett, who left office Jan. 2.

A background check must be done by the State Law Enforcement Division, and Gov. David Beasley must approve the appointment. The state Senate then will votes on confirmation, which is generally a formality.

Ms. Williamson said she believes that could happen within two weeks. The next step would be for Aiken County to find a site where she can hold court.

Under Magistrate Corbett, court was held at his residence in Wagener. Ms. Williamson said she hasn't been told yet what her salary might be or what site the county has in mind for magistrate court.

She would be a part-time judge working about 30 hours a week.

"I've got a lot of training to do and a lot to learn," Ms. Williamson said Friday. She said she has taken a criminal justice course at Orangeburg Tech and will now begin pursuing an associate's degree in criminal justice.

Friends in Wagener encouraged her to seek the position, she said.

"I just had a lot of good people approach me about it," she said. "I've worked with people for 14 years, and I enjoy it. I think (being a magistrate) will be very interesting."

Ms. Williamson is married and has two children, Anna, 11, and Cliff, 19. Her husband, Billy, is a state employee who works in Columbia as a master craftsman. Her mother-in-law is Inease Williamson, a member of the Aiken County Board of Education.

Candidates interviewed for the position including William Hartman, an investigator with the Aiken County Public Defender's Office, and a construction worker.