As anticipated in my earlier blog, Mayor Yepsen appointed sitting Judge Jeff Wait to a ten year term as city judge and Francine Vero of the law firm Harris Beach to serve out Judge Wait’s current term. This may be a little confusing to readers. The New York State Office of Court Administration upgraded what had been a part time city judge position held by James Doern to a full time position in 2014. Mr. Doern who had served the city for fifteen years as a part time judge was transitioned into the full time position. Apparently, Mayor Yepsen has the authority to replace Judge Doern. I believe that the position Judge Doern held was for ten years. By appointing Judge Wait to the new judgeship the mayor spares Judge Wait having to run next November. Ms. Vero, having been appointed to complete Judge Wait’s current appointment, will run next November. The loser in all of this will be James Doern.
Wendy Liberatore reported both appointments in today’s Times Union along with what I would characterize as the usual politician blah-blah about how great a choice Ms. Vero is. Ms. Vero may very well be an excellent attorney for the job but it is unfortunate that Ms. Liberatore left out significant and less flattering aspects of this story. There is of course the maneuvers as noted above. There is also the role that Harris Beach played in representing the Mayor before the Ethics Board and the City Council. As readers may recall Mayor Yepsen was found by the Ethics Board to have violated the city’s ethics code. Harris Beach first argued before the Ethics Board that the Mayor had not violated the code. They then crafted a memo to the Council that they did not have the authority to censure the mayor.