Albert Raymond, Berne town justice candidate

Albert Raymond

BERNE — Early in his career as a town justice, Democrat Albert Raymond was encouraged to take more than the 12 hours of required courses each year of his first term.

“I did that, and it made a huge difference,” said Raymond, now in his fifth year as a town justice and serving as a director on the New York State Magistrates Association executive board.

Raymond, 56, has been endorsed by Democrats, Conservatives, and the Independence Party for another four-year term. He is retired — once a radiologist, then a postal worker — and has been a Berne resident for nearly three decades. Raymond vacationed in the Hilltowns as he was growing up in Rotterdam.

“It started with my kids going to the Westerlo school,” said Raymond. Referring to Laura Ingalls Wilder book, he said, “It was like the Little House on the Prairie — three classes, 50 kids in the school.” He felt gratitude for the rural Hilltown community he says he was compelled to give back to.

Raymond served on the Berne Youth Council and conservation board. As a member of the county Democratic committee, Raymond said he was encouraged to take the place of resigning town justice Richard Guilz in 2008.

At that time, Raymond said, the court was all paper.

“The police agencies upload their UTTs, their traffic tickets, into the computer system and we just download them, instead of just drop off weekly,” said Raymond, adding that the electronic reporting of criminal dispositions has reduced human error.

One of Raymond’s goals with his position in the magistrates association is to form a branch in Albany County, the only county in the state without one.

“I think part of the problem with Albany is we’re so diverse,” said Raymond. “Colonie court is the third busiest court in the state.”

Until recently, the justice chambers had a shaky desk and stored children’s books, sharing space with the Berne Public Library. After the Cohoes branch of the Office of Court Administration moved, Raymond and other town justices placed stickers on pieces of furniture to claim their own. The library’s move to a new location now means more space could be available for the court.