ALBANY — The gavel was passed on Monday as former state Sen. Michael Meyer von Bremen was sworn in as Dougherty County’s newest Magistrate Court judge.

Meyer von Bremen, who is leaving his position as managing partner in the Albany office of law firm Hall Booth Smith P.C., will take over his duties on the bench on June 10. He was sworn in by Dougherty County Probate Court Judge Nancy Stephenson with his wife Peggy by his side.

Meyer von Bremen’s experience as a certified mediator and arbitrator should pay off in his new role, the new judge said.

“I’m looking forward to following the law and treating people fairly when they come into court,” he said during an interview following the Monday morning ceremony at the Dougherty County Judicial Building.

Meyer von Bremen is replacing retired Magistrate Court Judge John F. Salter, who also served as Dougherty County State Court judge before being appointed magistrate judge in 2012. Meyer von Bremen was appointed to the position by State Court Judge John Stephenson in late April.

Meyer von Bremen is no stranger to public service. He served as a state senator, representing District 12, for 12 years, including serving as the Democratic minority leader in 2003 and 2004.

A graduate of Mercer University and its school of law, he’s worked in private legal practice in Albany since 1983.

During his remarks to the audience that included local elected officials and co-workers from the law firm where he worked, Meyer von Bremen referred to Bart Starr, the former quarterback of the Green Bay Packers who led the team from the mid-1950s into the early 1970s. Starr was not flashy, but quietly did the job with his desire and dedication, Meyer von Bremen said.

“I have the desire to be the best judge I can be,” he said. “I pledge to do my best to follow the law in all I do. I pledge I’ll dedicate my career to do the best I can every day.”

Among the duties of the officer are signing criminal search and arrest warrants and hearing civil suits up to a certain dollar amount in a role that is similar to small claims court, as well as bond hearings and disposessions.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” Meyer von Bremen said after the swearing-in ceremony as he greeted friends and acquaintances who came to wish him well. “So much of my career was flashing in front of me. Just a lot of people I’ve known from my entire career were here today.”

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