After 14 years as court administrator and a more than 30-year career in Hall County, Reggie Forrester has announced he will retire.
Jason Stephenson, who will officially take over as court administrator Dec. 2, said last week he has “huge shoes to fill” from Forrester.
“These 14 years have been special to me. The trust that all the judges placed in me these 14 years have been a very special blessing to me. They have included me in every part of their operation, and that is so special to me that part of the judiciary. It is something that I will carry forever,” Forrester said.
Forrester said he felt his last big task before retirement was finishing the expansion and remodeling that came with the arrival of Superior Court Judge Clint Bearden, who was appointed in December 2017 by former Gov. Nathan Deal.
Before that in 2015, court and county officials announced their plan to reopen the courthouse annex to move in the Juvenile and Probate courts.
After that, renovations were made to move Magistrate Court to the third floor of the courthouse. Bearden and State Court Judge Larry Baldwin were able to get their own courtrooms, which were finished this past summer.
“They have given me a lot of responsibility and the trust to get those things done. I just want to be remembered that I did my very best, and I feel good about it. I’m happy and I’m going to miss this place,” said Forrester, who added he’ll especially miss his staff.
Chief Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin said in a statement Forrester “steered us through many changes in court procedures, hard financial times, and led us during a time of unprecedented growth.
“He will be missed by all of us.”
Forrester has worn many hats for Hall County in his time that he called a “blessed career path,” including an investigator for the district attorney’s office, warden at the correctional institute and county administrator.
“Reggie has been a mentor and confidant, both professional and personally. His guidance, experience, and insight has been invaluable,” Superior Court Judge Jason Deal said in a statement.
Stephenson served for more than four years as Gosselin’s staff attorney.
“Jason will bring the same sense of service to the courts that Reggie has always displayed. His energy, wisdom, and knowledge of the court system will benefit all of us who work within that system,” Gosselin said in a statement.
Forrester said he’ll return to his hobbies which include collector cars and traveling with his wife. The couple plans to take an Alaskan cruise next year and have more destinations and journeys planned for the future.
“I have a lot of projects at home that I think will take a couple years to catch up. I don’t want to go home and do nothing,” he said.