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.