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Jax Daily Record Friday, Oct. 1, 200412:00 PM EST

General Master Combs joins chief judge's office

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by: Richard Prior

by Richard Prior

Staff Writer

A big farewell party was held in the Green Cove Springs Courthouse Thursday for Clay County General Master Steven Combs, who started his new job today as general counsel to the 4th Judicial Circuit.

He is now sharing office space with Chief Judge Donald Moran, who hired him.

“I will be handling any routine vendor and employment issues that may arise for the court system,” said Combs. “I’ll also be advising the chief judge on his Constitutional authority as it relates to the other branches of government and to other Constitutional officers.”

As time allows, Combs will continue to act as a magistrate in probate court.

“I don’t anticipate having so many issues to handle as general counsel that I can’t possibly provide some extra coverage as needed,” he said.

Bill Grant is replacing Combs in Clay County.

In June 2003, Combs received the Dignity in Law award from the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar.

He was chosen from more than a dozen statewide nominees. He was one of 11 masters in the circuit, which includes Clay, Duval and Nassau counties.

Combs was also named the Clay County Guardian Ad Litem’s office Child Advocate of the Year for two years running.

“I will sorely miss him,” said his bailiff, Chuck Fuhrman.

For his last day on the job, Combs actually didn’t have a lot of bench time. In the middle of handling all the minutiae that comes with moving from one place to another, he was out buying plaques and certificates of appreciation for his staff.

“I’ve really loved what I’ve been doing in Clay County,” he said.

Combs worked as a staff attorney for several judges after graduating from law school at the University of Florida, where he was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Law and Public Policy.

He then joined the firm of Boyer, Tanzler & Boyer.

Combs was in private practice “with a heavy emphasis on family law” when he was named Clay County General Master/Child Support Enforcement hearing officer in January 2001.

“I think having Steve here will add immensely to the operations of the Circuit,” said Moran.

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