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City Council appoints new part-time judge to fill remaining term

By Joanne Beck
andrea clattenburg
Andrea Clattenburg

City Council approved a part-time City Court judge Monday to fill the remaining term of Tom Burns, who retired from his post with less than three of his six years served.

Andrea Clattenburg, a Genesee County assistant public defender since 2021, will now be the part-time City Court judge, a role established per the Uniform City Court Act. That act provides for the appointment of a City Court judge who acts in the temporary absence or inability of the city judge to exercise the power of said judge. 

The part-time judge will serve a term of six years, which in this case will expire on Dec. 31, 2026, the end of the original term of Burns.

Upon his retirement, Burns told The Batavian that there weren’t enough cases flowing through City Court to justify his time there, so he stepped down effective July 14. 

City Council approved Clattenburg by a vote of 8 to 1, with Bob Bialkowski, Rich Richmond, Eugene Jankowski Jr., Paul Viele, Kathy Briggs, Al McGinnis, Kathy Briggs and Tammy Schmidt voting yes, and John Canale abstaining because of his “close personal ties” to the candidate.

The Batavian asked Jankowski for his thoughts about filling a position that Burns had left because there wasn’t enough work to warrant the job. 

“In my research, my research has learned that the court is pretty much backed up with cases. So I have no idea what Mr. Burns, his comment was about. I'm not familiar with it. I do know that after looking into it, as part of this process, there is a definite need for many small claims actions, civil actions and such. And that's what a lot of the part-time job does, as well as overflow and recruitment. When the full-time judge has recused himself, then those criminal cases are passed on to the part-time judge. So from what they tell me, there are standards, 90-day standards for these cases that need to be resolved. That's a state recommendation, and they really pay attention to it,” Jankowski said. “So given that short timeline, there's a lot of work over there, and they need the extra help. And plus, the part-time position, if I'm not mistaken, is required per the state. So we're gonna have it one way or another. And I believe we will make good use of it over there.”

The part-time City Court judge is paid by the state, though the position is appointed by City Council. Durin Rogers is the current full-time City Court judge. He is also paid by the state but is an elected position.

The minimum qualifications for the part-time judge require candidates to be an attorney admitted to practice law in the State of New York for at least five (5) years as of the date he or she commences the duties of the office and must be a resident of the City of Batavia. 

Clattenburg is a Genesee County assistant public defender who received a Leadership Achievement Award from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, where she obtained her Juris Doctorate in general law practice in 2014.

She lists arts and culture, children, education, poverty alleviation and social services as her causes of interest. 

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