The City of Portland is seeking a new city judge as longtime Judge Steve Glaser has announced he is stepping down and will reside in the Memphis area with his wife of 44 years, Sonja.
The Glasers have been longtime members of the Portland community and were very active in local schools — he as a high school soccer coach and she as an elementary school teacher. In addition to being the city judge for Portland, Glaser also has a successful law firm in Gallatin where his son, Zach, also practices.
Judge Glaser said his 2010 brush with cancer had a big part in his decision to relocate closer to their children and grandchildren in Memphis.
“I’m cancer-free five years,” he said. “Having cancer made me realize how important family is and how important it is to take advantage of the opportunities to be with them. We only have so many days on this earth and family is very important.
“I told (Mayor Ken Wilber) I won’t be there to continue to be city judge, but I’ll be there for as long as you need for you to find someone. We wanted to wait for the new City Council to vote someone in, so I’m looking to actually leave in March. I’ll certainly help with the transition.”
Glaser is now 63 years old and, while he has no plans to retire, he wants to shift his priorities to be more focused on family. He and his wife have already found a home in the suburbs of Memphis and he will continue to work from his home office, as well as his Gallatin law firm.
“We love being able to see the grandkids every day,” he added, “but I will miss being the city judge. This and coaching has been a real blessing in my life.”
Glaser coached boys’ soccer at Portland High School for 18 years. The Panthers won several district titles with Glaser as the head coach and, besides all the wins, he said his greatest accomplishment was watching the kids grow into adults.
He wore multiple hats daily — lawyer, soccer coach, and city judge, but he said being judge was the greatest blessing of them all.
“I’ve enjoyed every day of it,” he said of being Portland’s city judge for 14 years. “The people of Portland are wonderful and it’s been a real honor and privilege to serve as city judge.
“People will have more contact with a city court than any other court. My idea was to make it as positive an experience as you can so people will have a good feeling for government and courts, in general. The best thing for me is to see someone come in nervous and worried and leave relaxed.
“This and coaching has been a real blessing in my life. I really miss coaching, but I enjoy the people I work with as judge. It’s something I would never have guess I would love, but I’ve worked with a lot of good people.”
While he’s moving on with his life, he prefers to not think about retirement in his future.
“I don’t think I’ll ever retire,” he said. “I love what I do. I enjoy people. I like going to court. I like talking to judges and I like helping people. God only knows what’s in store for me. I have been blessed by good friends and good people to work with, and it’s been an honor and privilege to serve as city judge.”
Portland Mayor Ken Wilber shared his gratitude for Judge Glaser’s 14 years served at the city’s court.
“It’s a very important role because the city judge is there to enforce our local laws,” Mayor Wilber said. “It’s important to be sure the ordinances in the city are carried out in a proper manner and according to the law. Since Judge Glaser has been judge, the city court has run very efficiently. The comments I’ve heard from people who have been through court thought he was very fair.”
The City of Portland has started the search for a new city judge. The position is appointed and the newly seated Board of Mayor and Aldermen will vote on the appropriate person to fill the seat.