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The Virginia Magistrates Association (“VMA”) is excited for the new membership year. The VMA works to increase visibility and membership, showing magistrates appreciation, educating the public about magistrates, advocating for issues important to VMA members and promoting transparency.

This past year membership increased to approximately 175 members! The VMA enjoyed seeing and speaking with you all at the magistrate conference. The more members we have the more effective the organization. Go to the membership page to join. Visit our blog and the member section of the website for specific benefits and opportunities for members in the 2023-2024 year. Congratulations to Region 4 for 100% membership for the 2nd year in a row! All members received a free gift from the VMA. For 100% district membership, the members in the district will receive a coupon for the VMA store.

In the 2022-2023 VMA membership year, the association published the 2022 VMA Code Book Index, swore in Regional Representatives for Magistrate Regions 1, 7, and 8. Please welcome Amanda Davis (Region 1), Arlette Jeet-Falone (Region 7), and Lisa Boone (Region 8). New items were added to the VMA Store. The VMA awarded over $900.00 in MCE scholarship, hosted the 1st VMA walk at both magistrate conferences, and a VMA social at the magistrate conference in Harrisonburg, Virginia (where members were provided with dinner, at no costs!). VMA mouse pads were given out, at no cost, to Department of Magistrate Services (“DMS”) employees at the magistrate conference. If you did not receive one, please contact us at  

The big news for the 2022-2023 membership year was that the VMA’s continued goal and efforts for pay increase was realized. The VMA submitted a 2021 Salary Pay Increase Request Letter to the Office of the Executive Secretary (“OES”) and DMS. On July 15, 2022, magistrates received a much needed and deserved pay increase and starting salaries for new magistrates was increased. The VMA will continue to advocate for pay increases across the board for DMS employees. In 2022, the VMA submitted the 2022 Compensation Improvement Request letter to OES and DMS, and we will be on the lookout for OES’s report required to be submitted to the VA General Assembly regarding the effectiveness of the increases.

The VMA also heard concerns regarding the possible loss of judicial status for our attorney colleagues. The VMA advocated for the continued designation of judicial status for attorney magistrates and chief magistrates. The Virginia State Bar heard our voice. Chief magistrates and magistrates who are attorneys remain eligible for judicial class eligibility. In 2021, the VMA, through the VMA legislative committee, proposed legislation to add magistrates to Va. Code §24.2-418. In the 2023 Virginia General Assembly session, House Bill 2024 included this proposal and was passed by both chambers and signed into law by the Governor.

We will continue to work with each other, DMS, OES, and other agencies and organizations to address other issues important to magistrate and membership such as the supervision of magistrates, magistrate retention, paid parental leave, additional magistrate positions, part-time magistrate positions, training, education, and visibility. To implement VMA’s goals, we need you! We saw an increase in committee membership and participation. Thank you to the current and past executive board and committee members for their participation. This year’s election will be for officer positions (President, 1st and 2nd Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer). Please consider and submit nominations. Contact us at to find out more about how to get involved.

While at the website, take time to re-visit the Magistrate Spotlight program. This program awards a nominated magistrate with a $50.00 gift card for exemplary service. The nomination form and requirements are available on the VMA’s website.

We welcome current, former, and retired magistrates, chief magistrates, regional supervisors, education staff, advisors, directors, and all those who want to participate in “aiding, assisting and representing members concerning issues pertaining to the Virginia Magistrate system”. Together we will continue to make a positive difference for our membership.

Thank you all and I continue to be of service.

Avnel A. Coates

VMA President


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