THOMASVILLE, Ga. (AP) - The chief judge of a five-county circuit in south Georgia is retiring after 25 years on the bench.

Superior Court Judge Harry Jay Altman II said in a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp that he plans to step down at the end of 2019. The 68-year-old Altman is chief judge of the Southern Judicial Circuit that covers Brooks, Colquitt, Echols, Lowndes and Thomas counties.

Altman's letter to the governor said retiring is "a bittersweet decision for me." The judge told The Valdosta Daily Times that he thinks he's done a good job but "it's time for somebody else to take over."

Altman is a Thomasville native who was appointed to the bench in August 1994. He became the Southern Circuit's chief judge in 2009.

Information from: The Valdosta Daily Times, http://valdostadailytimes.com/

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