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Brocton to keep justice position

February 19, 2016
By Ann Belcher (editorial@westfieldrepublican.com) , Westfield Republican

BROCTON - The board of trustees took a discussion item off of the table during their first meeting of February. Leaders have been mulling over the potential merger of the justice department with the Town of Portland over the past few months, but after further discussing the matter, the trustees came to a concrete decision.

With Village of Brocton Justice James Craig's term expiring soon, the board had been talking about the idea of doing away with a village justice and feeding all cases to the Portland Town court.

When asked at previous board meetings, Mayor Dave Hazelton noted that the department was "more or less a break even department" and the board sought to answer if the matter could be placed on the ballot in time for a March election.

The mayor said he had asked Village Attorney Peter Clark to look into the possibility of listing the dissolution of the justice department on the March ballot. After looking into the matter, Clark explained that at the matter could be solved in the form of a local law, then brought before voters for a permissive referendum.

"If you want to pass a law subject to permissive referendum, then you could put it on the ballot at the end of the justice's term. The village law is very clear," stated Clark.

The mayor said he has no personal opinion one way or the other on whether or not to eliminate the position, but that this would be the opportune time to decide on it if the board felt it was necessary. He did note that the matter would need board agreement, not necessarily a roll call vote, in order to move forward with a formal action.

Veteran trustee J. Dale Abram voiced his opinion prior to the board deciding on the matter.

"We went through this a long time ago, and as long as the village maintains its own laws, we have better cooperation with the village justice taking care of village ordinances. If we were ever to combine town and village law, then I would say 'yes,' but at this time, I would vote 'no.'"

Trustee Gary Planty was absent, and Trustee Craig Miller spoke in favor of putting the matter up for permissive referendum. Trustee Bryan Woleben, considering the thoughts of Abram, acknowledged his agreement to keep the justice department intact.

 
 
 

 

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