Longtime attorney David Saleh was appointed as part-time City of Batavia Court judge tonight, filling the vacancy created by former part-time justice Durin Rogers’ election to the full-time post in November.
City Council members, at the close of their Business Meeting at City Hall Council Chambers, unanimously voted in favor of Saleh’s hiring, which takes effect on Jan. 1, for a six-year term.
“First of all, I’m honored and very grateful to the City Council for having selected me to this position,” said Saleh, who noted that he will preside over the court primarily on Wednesdays and Fridays. “I am very excited to work with Judge (Durin) Rogers and to follow the direction this court has been going for many years under Judge (Robert) Balbick and Judge Rogers.”
Saleh, 66, has been a lawyer for more than 40 years and has experience in various disciplines, including being both a defense attorney and prosecutor as well as practicing corporate and municipal law.
He lived in Corfu for many years before relocating to the City in 2013.
Saleh, vice president/general counsel for Inlighten Inc., of Clarence, also has been involved in community and civic organizations, most notably as president of the Batavia Lions Club.
He has served as the City Republican Committee chairperson in recent years, a position that he will have to relinquish to avoid any conflict-of-interest issues. It is believed that Richard Richmond will assume the committee chair post.
Saleh said fairness and professionalism are the cornerstones of a successful judge.
“I think the main thing that has always been my focus -- and I’ve had a lot of experience in the courts – is to be very fair and professional with the people that come in front of me,” he said.
“I have a lot of experience and I hope to impart some of that to the attorneys who come to court with their clients to seek justice and deal with various problems that come up to people who are using the system.”
In other action, Council unanimously approved resolutions:
-- Authorizing an additional police officer position that will allow for the new hire to be trained in light of the January 2020 retirements of Assistant Chief Todd Crossett and Det. Sgt. Kevin Czora, and the City’s agreement with the Batavia City School District to provide a School Resource Officer beginning with the 2020-21 school year.
-- Appropriating $50,000 from the Facilities Reserve Fund to conduct a feasibility study – including predesign work – for a new police station at the northwest corner of Bank Street and Alva Place. Currently, the reserve fund has a balance of $298,000.
-- Acceptance of a $1 million Empire State Development Corporation Downtown Revitalization Initiative reimbursement grant to renovate the City Centre concourse, with improvements to be made to the roof, floor tiles and entrances.
City Manager Martin Moore said the state will reimburse the City at the end of the project, which means that short-term bonds may be needed to cover the ongoing costs.
“This is a major piece of the City’s efforts to upgrade the concourse and create positive economic opportunities for micro-business enterprises,” Moore wrote in a memo to City Council.
-- Ratifying the new 40-year sales tax allocation agreement with Genesee County, per requirements set by the state Comptroller’s office. The amended contract begins on Jan. 1.
-- Appointing citizens to the Youth Board (David Twichell, Paula Fischer and Kathryn Fitzpatrick) and Deer Management Committee (Russell Nephew Jr., Kent Klotzbach, Frederick Gundell, Samuel DiSalvo and Gus Galliford).
-- Contracting with Genesee County for prosecutorial services with the City paying $73,719 for 2020 and $76,219 for 2021.
Additionally, Public Works Director Matt Worth reported that crews are targeting this Thursday and Friday, depending upon the weather, to continue residential leaf pickup. Worth also said that the City yard waste station will remain open through Dec. 16.
City Council President Eugene Jankowski, right, reads a proclamation commending local and regional law enforcement personnel for their cooperative efforts during a 20-hour standoff on Nov. 18-19 on Liberty Street in the City.
The proclamation thanked all agencies that assisted City Police and for resolving the situation in a safe manner.
From left are City Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano, Monroe County Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Wagner, NYS DEC Officer Fay Fuerch, DPW Director Matt Worth, Genesee County Dispatch Deputy Director Frank Riccobono, State Police Capt. David Forsythe, State Police Sgt. Ben Fasano, City Police Sgt. Chris Camp, City Police Chief Shawn Heubusch and Jankowski.
Photo by Mike Pettinella.