Skip to main content

Appointment of new City Court judge ruffles some county feathers

By Howard B. Owens

Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature, and himself an attorney, wishes Durin Rogers all the best as the new Batavia City Court Judge, but also expressed disappointment that Rogers sought the job in the first place

Speaking during a Ways and Means Committee meeting Wednesday, Cianfrini said it was his impression that when Rogers took an assistant county attorney position, he was setting himself up to eventually become the county attorney.

Now he's no so sure.

"It seems to me he's using the county to advance his own position," Cianfrini said. "I'm not going to stand in his way, but I think being a city court judge hurts him when it comes time to consider a new county attorney."

Granted, the current county attorney, Charles Zambito, has no apparent immediate plans to step down, but Cianfrini said he was under the impression Rogers was given duties and responsibilities commensurate with gaining the experience necessary to eventually replace Zambito.

Zambito said Rogers has certainly filled an important role, one that should continue in his department, of being prepared to step in as county attorney if Zambito was unavailable.

Rogers was appointed City Court judge last week by the Batavia City Council to replace Michael Del Plato, a Cianfrini law partner, who retired from the judge position at the end of his term.

Rogers is on vacation and an assistant said there was no way to reach him to get his comment on the sudden controversy over his new appointment.

The discussion came up while Zambito introduced a resolution to adjust Rogers' position from full-time to part-time.

As a City Court judge, Rogers will be required to be in court at least one day a week, which means he won't be available to the county on those does.

His hours are being reduced from 37.5 hours per week to 30 hours per week. That means he will now be paid $66,494 a year by the county, instead of $83,118, a payroll savings for the county of $18,624.

State law also prohibits judges from acting as prosecutors in criminal matters. As part of Rogers county ties, Rogers has handled cases in family court involving under-age offenders and PINS (persons in need of supervision) cases, which while technically civil cases, are also considered criminal prosecutions.

Assistant County Attorney Paula Campbell will assume that case load and Rogers will take over her duties handling abuse and neglect cases and termination of parental rights.

Raymond Richardson

"It seems to me he's using the county to advance his own position," Cianfrini said. "

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! That never happens anywhere.

NFN, but how many County Legislature Chairmen/Executives statewide, have use a county position as a stepping stone to the Governor's mansion?

Apr 2, 2015, 9:45pm Permalink
Jim Rosenbeck

Mr. Rogers is an honorable man. The idea that Mr. Roger's career goals need to be approved by Mr. Cianfrini is reprehensible. The arrogance is profoundly absurd and speaks loudly to the republicans sense of entitlement as the king makers in this community.

Apr 2, 2015, 10:16pm Permalink
Brian Graz

Could it be because the City Court Judge position pays more than the County Attorney? Equivalent jobs [city vs county] the city jobs have for a long time paid more. And why is that? Last I knew Batavia Police get paid more than Sheriffs, city DPW workers pay rate is higher than county highway crews, city of Batavia firefighters get paid much more than their county equivalents.... ooops, silly me, the county firefighters are volunteers!

Apr 2, 2015, 10:48pm Permalink
John Roach

Jim, honor had nothing to do with it. He was hired for a full time County job. Now he can not do that job full time. And it does put a burden on the County since Rogers can not hear certain cases.

On the other hand, the County loss is the City gain since City gets a very good part time judge.

Apr 3, 2015, 6:21am Permalink
Raymond Richardson

Brian, no way a part time city court judge is paid more than the county attorney, who earns a little more than $93k/year, according to a December 2014 article in the Buffalo News.

Apr 5, 2015, 8:36am Permalink
Jeff McIntire

All griping aside, I know Durin on a professional basis and have seen the true compassion for humanity he carries with him to the bench. He helped me with an issue where there was seemingly no 'light' at the end of the tunnel. This man did more for me than he ever should have. I was dealing with a personal issue that had nothing to do with his office, but some how he heard of my problem and took it upon himself to give my matter his personal time and attention. City job, county job, truly means nothing; Durin Rogers will do nothing but strengthen any office that HE CHOOSES for HIS career.

Mr. Rogers, I thank you again for giving me the relief that your services provided. I am thrilled for you in what ever endeavor you choose to help the citizens of this area. A truly humble and honest man.

Apr 7, 2015, 6:22pm Permalink

Authentically Local