Alan Zuk, Berne town justice candidate

Alan Zuk

BERNE — Thirty years ago, Democrat Alan Zuk was a town justice, before he was the town’s supervisor for several terms and before he was appointed to the position in April this year. He will now face an election to keep the post.

“The number of cases is definitely higher, in other words the court is busier,” Zuk said of his observations of the court. “The one difference that I notice now is that the assistant district attorney comes to court on a regular basis and that person prosecutes the criminal and the traffic cases.” Police officers used to prosecute criminal cases.

Zuk, 64, has Conservative, Independence Party, and Democratic endorsements. A Clarkson College graduate and Hilltown native, Zuk was Berne-Knox-Westerlo’s transportation director for decades.

The busier court doesn’t necessarily mean it requires more from the town budget, Zuk said.

“If there’s a budget impact, it’s the budget of the defendant,” said Zuk, noting the increased surcharges since he was first in the court for criminal and traffic infractions.

As the town’s supervisor, Zuk said he observed the challenge a small town faces in supervising someone sentenced to community service. He said he hasn’t yet had a case where he’s used community service as part of the conviction.

“I’m not saying it’s not advantageous,” said Zuk. He continued, “I think what happened, sometimes, is the person supervising wound up doing the work.”

Zuk alternates Tuesday evenings with Albert Raymond, the more senior justice, who he describes as a mentor. Zuk says he’s running because gets satisfaction out of the post, learning from attorneys and working in government.

“I know I’ll have some cases that are going to cause me a lot of anxiety, but so far so good,” said Zuk.

Zuk is looking forward to getting practice in the seat in the next four years. “I still have the butterflies at court time,” said Zuk. “I need to really take a lot more of the courses that are offered and just be more confident.”