Petre will replace Ossola in Nov. | PostIndependent.com

Petre will replace Ossola in Nov.

Greg Massé

A successor to longtime 9th District Judge Thomas Ossola has been chosen: It’s Daniel Petre.Gov. Bill Owens appointed Petre, 53, to the position this week.”I’m very pleased,” he said. “It was really a strong and impressive group of attorneys.”That group of attorneys consisted of Petre, 9th Judicial District chief deputy district attorney Gretchen Larson of New Castle and former Pitkin County commissioner and attorney James R. True of Aspen. Owens commented on Petre’s appointment through a news release. “Dan Petre is extremely qualified for this position,” Owens said. “He has already established a good reputation as a magistrate, and I am confident he will be a consistent, efficient, and principled judge.” Petre spoke to Owens during an interview in Denver, but Petre didn’t find out he had the job until a member of Owens’ legal team called him on Monday. “I was not expecting it,” he said. With just more than a month to go before Ossola steps down, Petre has a lot of work to wrap up before stepping down as magistrate and District 5 water referee. Petre’s promotion also means that a new magistrate will need to be appointed. He said that will be done by whichever 9th District judge is appointed to replace Ossola as chief judge. Petre said he will need to learn a lot for his new job, but being magistrate for 4 1/2 years has given him a big head start. “I’ve been doing a fair amount of on-the-job training,” he said. Ossola, who is now the district’s chief judge, announced in late June that he will step down on Nov. 1.”Judge Ossola is going to be an awfully tough act to follow,” Petre said. “He’s been an institution in the courts and has been a rock in a whole lot of the courts for the past 10 years or so.”Petre will join fellow district judges T. Peter Craven and James Boyd.Prior to his term as a magistrate and water referee, Petre maintained a private law practice in Glenwood Springs for 22 years. As an attorney, Petre focused his legal practice on water issues, though he also handled a general law practice. Petre also serves on the board of Garfield Legal Services and is a former member of the Re-1 School Board. He earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and law degree from Southern Methodist University in Texas.The initial term of office for Petre will be a provisional term of two years, after which he will have to stand for retention to serve an additional six years. The annual salary for the position is $107,044.Although Ossola is retiring from his full-time duties, he has said he plans to enter the state’s senior judge program. In this program, retired judges make themselves available for 60 days a year – or five days a month – to fill in for other judges throughout the state who are on vacation or on leave. Ossola was first appointed to the Garfield County Court bench in 1976. He was appointed to serve as a 9th District Court judge on Feb. 1, 1980, where he has heard criminal and civil cases. He also has served as water judge for Water Division No. 5, and since 1991 has continuously served as chief judge for the district. His responsibilities as chief judge have included administrative work involving the district’s budget, personnel management, oversight of court buildings, assignment of cases, and county court supervision.”It’s humbling to be in a position to follow someone like that,” Petre said. Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext. 511gmasse@postindependent.com


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