Fourteen seek justice job in Guilderland

GUILDERLAND — Fourteen candidates are vying for the position of town justice, open since Richard Sherwood resigned on March 5. He was arrested by the New York State Attorney General’s Office on felony charges of grand larceny and scheme to defraud and then suspended by the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.

Sherwood had been one of three Guilderland town judges since 2013. A lawyer, he is accused of stealing, together with another financial advisor, $4 million from estate funds that he managed in his private-practice.

The candidates are: Christopher R. Aldrich, Anthony S. Cantore, Brian Callahan, Bryan M. Clenahan, Stephen R. Chesley, Stephen G. DeNigris, Elizabeth Lott, James Melita, Robert A. Murphy Jr., Tracy Murphy, Christine M. Napierski, Bridget Holohan Scally, Paul C. Pastore, and Margaret C. Tabak.

Pastore is currently a town councilman, and Melita is the town attorney. Both were on the dais, participating in the meeting Tuesday night, and left the room while the board talked about the judgeship. Pastore is recusing himself from all discussion of the matter, the board heard.

Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber said Wednesday that he assumed that, if Melita or Pastore were appointed, either would need to leave the position he currently holds with the town.

The search is closed; applications were due on March 20.

Being a lawyer is not a requirement for the position.

The town board will interview all 14 candidates. It will schedule interviews for March 26 and 27 and “see how far we get,” Barber announced at the board meeting Tuesday night; interviews will continue the week of April 2 if necessary.

The board hopes to appoint a new judge at one of its April meetings, he said on Wednesday, which are scheduled for April 3 and April 17.

A third judge’s position was added in 2013, when Guilderland’s court was deemed too busy for two judges to handle. The justices’ work is considered part-time, but their hours, submitted every three months to the state’s comptroller, average out to a full-time schedule.

The successful candidate will join justices Denise Randall and John Bailey.

In 2017, the position paid $51,170.

Guilderland’s appointee will serve through Jan. 1, 2019, and will then need to run in the November 2018 general election.

Judges do not run to fill unexpired terms; their terms start when they are elected, so the term will be for four years following the November election, Democratic Commissioner Matthew Clyne of the Albany County Board of Elections told The Enterprise earlier.

 

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