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County Attorney

April 2, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, County Attorney, City Court.

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.

March 15, 2010 - 9:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, Charles Zambito, County Attorney.

(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.

charles_zambito.jpgWith 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."

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