HAMLIN – Lincoln Circuit Judge Jay Hoke will take part later this month in the Council of State Governments' Toll Fellowship Program.

Hoke is one of two West Virginians chosen to participate in the six-day, five-night public leadership development workshop. Joining Hoke will be Robert Paulson of the West Virginia governor's office.

Established 30 years ago and named for CSG founder Henry Wolcott Toll, the fellowship is considered one of the premier state government leadership development programs in the nation. Each year CSG chooses 48 public officials from the nation's executive, legislative and judicial ranks to take part in an intensive "intellectual boot camp" that prepares and challenges them to devise holistic solutions to pressing problems. These are then assessed and critiqued in an effort to refine and better understand all the interrelated factors involved and how things might actually pan out.

The 48 public officials for the 2016 Toll Fellowship hail from 29 states, Puerto Rico and Guam and represent all three branches of government. A 12-member committee of state leaders, many of them former Toll Fellowship participants, made the selections.

Hoke has worked in the Legislature, for the state government at the Public Services Commission and as a prosecuting attorney, as well as a judge. He said this broad-based public service background likely served him in good stead with the Toll Fellowship selection committee.

¨I was honored to be chosen,¨ Hoke told The West Virginia Record. ¨I serve on a mass litigation panel that requires thinking outside the box in order to solve problems. You have to take economic and social impacts, as well as legal matters, into consideration in order to come up with reasonable remedies that can help.¨

Hoke expects that his ability to contribute to the mass litigation panel, as well as to his role as a circuit court judge generally, will be sharpened and improved as a result of participating in the Toll Fellowship public leadership development program. ¨You meet and work closely with public officials across the spectrum in the Toll Fellowship – people working in the legislative and executive branches, as well as the judicial, to resolve problems in a comprehensive way,¨ he said.

Paulson, general counsel for West Virginia Department of Administration, will be joining Hoke on the public leadership development retreat in Kentucky.

¨I'm really looking forward to the experience from a problem-solving perspective, applying what I've learned not only dealing with mass litigation issues, but to show them the way things are done here in West Virginia,¨ Hoke said.

There isn't a whole lot Toll Fellowship participants can do in the way of advance preparation, he added. Participants are presented problems with no advance notice or information during the program. ¨They're all sprung on you while you're there. You have to make use of the resources at hand and work as a team to resolve them.¨

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