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Veteran Pinellas/Pasco judge voted into top seat

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A 25-year veteran will succeed J. Thomas McGrady as chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit serving Pinellas And Pasco counties.

Circuit Judge Anthony Rondolino was unanimously voted in by all 68 of his peers Wednesday. McGrady chose not to seek re-election after serving thee two-year terms.

“I appreciate the confidence my fellow judges have shown in my ability to carry out this important responsibility and I look forward to seeking ways to improve the service we provide the public,” Rondolino said Friday to Tampa Bay Reporter.

Rondolino will start his new job July 1. His term runs through June, 2017.

Rondolino will oversee all of the circuit judges. The sixth circuit serves nearly 1.5 million residents throughout Pasco and Pinellas. He’ll also oversee an administrative staff 235 employees strong.

According to Tampa Bay Reporter, Rondolino is the second longest serving circuit judge in the sixth circuit and has been involved in some 300 jury trials. Many of those he presided over as a judge, others he tried as a lawyer.

He has presided over numerous civil claims pertaining to medical malpractice, tobacco litigation and accident claims. He has also been appointed three times to the Second District Court of Appeals as an associate judge and has served as the administrative judge for the circuit’s civil division and criminal and family divisions.

Rondolino received his law degree from Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport. He began his career locally in the public defender’s office. He has also taught cources at Stetson.

“I think the greatest challenge in the last six years has been to fully serve the citizens and Pasco and Pinellas with limited resources,” McGrady said of his predecessor to Tampa Bay Reporter. “We were able to succeed by providing timely justice to those who would appear before the courts thanks to a hard-working judiciary and an underpaid and overworked staff.”

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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