Larry Friedman rattled off a few one-liners Monday night as he accepted a proclamation from the City of Batavia in recognition of his 40-year career with the Genesee County District Attorney’s Office.
“I've been in the DAs office so long that when I started Eugene Jankowski was a young patrolman, and we both had a full head of hair,” said the retiring county DA, looking at the City Council president who had just presented him with the certificate. “And (former sheriff) Gary Maha was the chief deputy in the sheriff's office.”
Maha was among those in the audience honoring both Friedman and Rose Mary Christian, who has retired after 29-plus years as a City Council member.
Friedman served as the DA for six consecutive four-year terms – all unopposed. He prosecuted 140 felony trials, including high profile cases in the city.
The proclamation stated:
“Larry’s acumen as a trial attorney helped bring about justice for countless crime victims and help to fortify the integrity of the DA office. Larry served the citizens of the City of Batavia and the residents of Genesee County with expertise and a commitment to improve the safety, healing and access to justice for all.
“Therefore, in true spirit of appreciation to 40 years of dedicated service to the City of Batavia and Genesee County, the City Council of the City of Batavia does hereby make this proclamation to sincerely thank Larry Friedman for his dedicated service to our community and to wish him well in his retirement.”
In his brief acceptance speech, Friedman noted his “great working relationship” with City Council, city management and City Attorney George Van Nest, and also with the Batavia Police Department’s Detective Bureau.
“As was mentioned, I prosecuted many felony cases arising out of the city of Batavia. And every time I've had one that went to trial, I knew I could look to members of the Batavia Police Department Detective Bureau to give me the assistance I needed in doing the things that need to be done right up until the time of and even during the trial,” he said.
Friedman said he was “grateful to my staff members” and joked, “I'm kind of sorry that they have nothing better to do on a Monday night -- as a number of people from my staff are here.”
He also drew a laugh when he mentioned that Christian told him that her grandson had just graduated from law school and is taking the New York bar exam in February.
“So, I gave her my card and wrote Kevin Finnell’s (his successor as DA, who also was in attendance) name on it … and told her to send his resume to Kevin because we’re always looking for good people.”
In closing, he thanked those who “are here to support me as opposed to just having the cookies and coffee (that were put out for the reception for Christian). I really do appreciate this.”
Photo: Larry Friedman and Eugene Jankowski Jr. at Monday night's City Council meeting. Photo by Mike Pettinella.