G'land residents deserve to know facts about their court

To the Editor:

The present town court elected officials spend only four days a month in town court, and they alternate between weeks. They are on call during the month but there is no indication as to how many hours each elected official spends on that aspect of the position.

And for that they receive $46,812.99 annually, or $975.27 each day in court. That amount does not include the retirement benefits they receive or the benefits they claim.

Interestingly, the town attorney's salary is not listed on the Guilderland town website nor are the benefits that he claims.

Guilderland voters must determine whether paying their elected town court officials and a third town judge roughly $1,000 each day they work (presently $8,000 each month which will increase to $12,000 a month after Jan. 1, 2014), on court business is a good value.

Especially when there is no transparency in the town court operation and given the fact that there is a significant backlog of cases, a lack of court efficiency, and poor morale among the staff.

And if, as reported to me, the elected officials and the present town attorney are receiving full-time retirement credits, along with full-time sick leave and vacation benefits for the part-time work that they do, that will be another issue I will raise during this campaign.

So that my position is clear — if elected I will not take full-time retirement credits for part-time work. I will not take full-time sick leave or vacation benefits as a part-time town judge.

I will work at least eight hours each day, three days a week, and not just four days each month.

By substantially increasing court hour operation by 300 percent, I will provide greater access to the court for litigants, residents, and attorneys. I may even consider holding sessions in Altamont Village, the University at Albany, or Crossgates Mall for greater court access and efficiency.

And this I guarantee. Transparency in the town court operation will be the rule not the exception. Upon assuming office, I will release statistics on new cases filed, cases adjudicated, and what the actual numbers are concerning the backlog of cases. Town residents will know precisely how many hours I spend in court each month, what benefits I receive from their tax dollars, and what their town court is actually doing.

Guilderland residents are paying for the court's operation. Residents deserve to know the facts.

Stephen G. DeNigris, Esq.

Republican Candidate for

Guilderland Town Justice

Editor’s note: See related story.