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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, November 4, 2010
New acting judge plans to avoid conflict of interest with state job
By Jo E. Prout
VOORHEESVILLE After being sworn in last week as Voorheesville’s new acting justice, Camille Jobin-Davis stressed that she would eschew any conflicts with her job as the assistant director of the state’s committee on Open Government.
“Now that I have been appointed,” she said in an e-mail on Oct. 31, “in my capacity at the Committee on Open Government, I will refrain from giving opinions regarding actions of employees and officials of the village of Voorheesville with respect to compliance and the Freedom of Information Law and the Open Meetings Law.”
Jobin-Davis is a former village resident and had served in the past as a village trustee and a village attorney. She was appointed unanimously to the part-time one-year post and will fill in when the village judge, Kenneth Connolly, is unavailable.
“The jurisdiction of the village court is criminal [acts] within the village, vehicle traffic, and small claims under $3,000,” Jobin-Davis said last week when asked about the potential for conflicts of interest with her new job. “The village court has no jurisdiction over Article 78 proceedings, which enforce the Open Meetings law.”
“If anyone’s a stickler for the Open Meetings Law, she’s the one,” Robert Freeman, the executive director for the Committee on Open government, said last week.
He also noted that any discussion of the acting-judge position as opposed to candidate interviews or talk of who might be the best candidate should be held in public.
The Enterprise reviewed the agendas for village board meetings and the minutes of both village board and workshop meetings posted on the village website, which date back to January 2010, and found the only mention of discussion or action on the appointment was a listing in the Oct. 26 agenda that the acting judge would be sworn in.
“I know it was discussed several times over the past couple of years,” said Mayor Robert Conway this week. “It wasn’t something that just came up recently. I can’t speak as to why it’s not in the minutes.”
Clerk-Treasurer Linda Pasquali told The Enterprise that the position was noted as open in the 2008 organizational meeting minutes, with the resignation of Justice Kris Jackstadt occurring before that. The open position was also mentioned in the organizational meeting minutes of 2009, she said.
Pasquali said that, if no votes were taken about the acting justice position, the position would not be mentioned in village minutes. The position might be mentioned on an older agenda, she said. An appointment like acting justice is made by the village mayor, typically at an organizational meeting, she said.
Conway concluded of Jobin-Davis, “We’re looking forward to having her in the position. I’m sure she’ll do a fine job.”