Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 20, 2013

Judge defends her family court administrator hire

Conklin worked on Stanton's campaign

TRAVERSE CITY — New Grand Traverse County Probate Judge Melanie Stanton brought in a former campaign worker to run family court, but she said the move wasn't a political favor.

Stanton, who took office this month, hired Diane Conklin as family court administrator. Conklin replaces Greg Brainard, who worked in that position for about five years under former Probate Judge David Stowe. Conklin will earn about $46,000 in the position.

Conklin, who's worked as a paralegal and secretary for multiple attorneys over the years, worked on Stanton's judicial campaign. She also was employed for many years by Stanton's private practice partner, Mike Kronk, and once worked as a school secretary for Traverse City Area Public Schools.

Stanton said Conklin will be a fantastic administrator.

"She's the most organized person that I know, and she has a lot of connections into the community," Stanton said. "I think she's going to be a ... wonderful asset to this court."

The move wasn't a political thank-you, Stanton said.

"When a new CEO comes into a company, they bring a new administration with them. They bring new blood, they bring people they trust, they bring people who they think are going to do a fabulous, bang-up job," she said. "I have no doubt in my mind that Diane is going to do a bang-up job."

Stanton wouldn't discuss Brainard's departure.

"It has nothing to do with the people who were here before," she said. "You need to have those people that you think can do the best job for you and for the county."

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