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Charles Zambito

Charles Zambito sworn in as new County Court judge

By Howard B. Owens


In his legal career, Charles Zambito has been a clerk for a county court judge, a defense attorney, a prosecuting attorney, an attorney in private practice and a county attorney, and last night he took the oath office for what he said may be the most significant role an attorney can play in a democratic society: a County Court judge.

Elected without opposition in November, the lifelong Genesee County resident who resides in Elba took the oath administered by Wyoming County Court Judge Michael Mohun while surrounded by his family.

After being sworn in, Zambito delivered a few remarks.

Judges, he said, play a vital role in protecting the freedoms we all enjoy. Yes, the court is indispensable in protecting law-abiding citizens from those who break the law and providing for victim's rights, but judges must also safeguard the Constitutional rights of those accused of crimes, as well, in order to ensure the rights of us all are protected. 

"It’s just as important if not more important for a judge to be aware of that," Zambito said. "Without an independent judiciary, you wouldn’t have that. It’s really the foundation of a democratic society."

When discussions about his swearing-in ceremony came up, Zambito said his first impulse was not to make much of it, but his friends, including Mohun, who will serve as his mentor, impressed upon him the idea that the job isn't just about him.

"It’s about the position that a county court judge has in the community and the importance and significance that has, not only in this community but in all communities across the state and the country," Zambito said.



Attorney Ben Bonarigo, outgoing president of the Genesee County Bar Association, delivered a few opening remarks in praise of Zambito's service to the community.


Zambito to be new county attorney; Bergen's Bausch to represent District 2

By Howard B. Owens

County Legislator Charles Zambito is about to become the new county attorney, and Bergen Village Trustee Robert Bausch will be appointed to replace him in District 2.

The Zambito and Bausch appointments were approved unanimously yesterday by the Ways and Means Committee and will be placed on next Wednesday's agenda for the full Legislature to vote on.

Hollis Upson chaired the Ways and Means Committee meeting yesterday (normally Zambito's position) and praised both his fellow legislator and the incoming local lawmaker.

On Zambito: "He was rather heartily endorsed as a candidate who knows the county’s business intimately and he is good to work with, so we’re looking forward to it. We expect no bumps and lots of continuity in the service."

On Bausch:  "He has a long history of community service. Quite impressive. Very dedicated public servant in private, non-profits and many boards over the years, so we think he will be a great addition to the Legislature."

Bausch spoke with The Batavian's news partner WBTA and said he's looking forward to the job and took it with the idea that it is at least a four-year commitment, not just something he is going to do for a year and then step aside.

"Primarily, the major issue I see with the county is the nursing home. It is the cash-flow issue because they do not have a normal financial plan for the people at the county nursing home."

He said his range of experience with various groups and boards will be a benefit in his new role.

"That really helps mature a person for a position like this because you understand there are two sides to a story, you’ve just got to understand where everybody is coming from," he said.

Zambito will take over from John Rizzo, who is retiring and taking a job with an area bank, on April 5.

Legislator Zambito throwing his hat in the ring for County Attorney job

By Howard B. Owens

(Updated 8:17 a.m., Tuesday)

Charles Zambito -- currently the county legislator serving District 2 (Elba, Byron and Bergen) -- would very much like to be the new county attorney.

With the retirement of John Rizzo this month, Zambito has let his fellow legislators -- who will pick the new county attorney -- know that he would like the job.

"It’s something that I had my eye on if there was an opening, but who knew if there would be an opening?" Zambito said Monday afternoon. "This is the opportunity and I’m interested."

Inarguably, the Elba resident is qualified. He's clerked for two local judges, worked as a public defender in Monroe County and spent 11 years in the local district attorney's office. He's also got decades of experience in insurance liability and litigation, not to mention the more than eight years he's served as a county legislator.

"Obviously, my experience with the county legislature got me interested in it, but it’s the kind of job that sort of fits with what I’ve been doing for the past almost 30 years," Zambito said.

The legislature will meet in closed session on Wednesday morning to discuss the county attorney position. Zambito's application for the job is likely to be considered. The topic is also on the Ways and Means Committee agenda for Wednesday afternoon.

County Legislature Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock said since the legislature has not yet discussed the issue as a group, she couldn't say how Zambito's application will be received, but she said Zambito certainly seems qualified for the job.

"He has the experience," she said. "He's a good attorney and he has experience in insurance and risk management."

She added that his experience as a county legislator also helps.

In talking with Chuck on Monday afternoon, he clearly has an enthusiasm for the job and is hoping that the other legislators will support his application. He isn't applying for the job just because it seems like the thing to do -- he sees it as the right thing for him to do at this point in his career.

"I think I can fit in fairly well," Zambito said. "John’s been there a long time – over 30 years – I don’t know that anybody can just step in and replace him, but I think I can probably do as good a job as anybody with my background."

Batavia Downs announces winner of second-annual Italian-American award

By Howard B. Owens

Charles Zambito will be honored by Batavia Downs on Aug. 29 as the second Genesee County resident to receive its now annual "Italian-American of the Year" award.

Joe "The Mayor of Batavia" Gerace received the first award last year.

Zambito, an attorney who was born and raised Elba and now serves as a Genesee County legislator, will receive the award inside the winner's circle at Batavia Downs.

The award honors a local Italian-American who has made a significant contribution to the community.

Zambito was elected to the Genesee County Legislature in 2001. He serves as the legislature’s liaison to the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and Genesee Community College.

A father of three, Zambito, 57, is a trustee of St. Padre Pio Roman Catholic Parish, where he also serves as a lecturer and usher. He is chairman of the Town of Elba Republican Committee and member of the county GOP committee.  Zambito is a former attorney adviser to the Genesee County Mock Trial Program, member of the Batavia Rotary Club, Genesee-Orleans Cornell Club and active with the Paolo Busti Foundation.

Zambito and his wife, Pat, will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in September.

Italian-American Night is one of several ethnic celebrations at the Downs during racing season, now through Dec. 5. Anyone wishing to make reservations to attend the Aug. 29 festivities may contact Arna Tygart at (585) 343-3750 (Ext 437).  A special Italian Buffet will be served and live music will be featured with The Formula Band.

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