Picente to Gillibrand: I Expect Better; County Exec Asks Senior NY Senator to Get Involved
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is weighing-in with some harsh words for a U.S. Senator regarding the potential appointment of a new federal judge in the Northern District of New York.
U.S. District Court Judge David Hurd had been seeking senior status - a form of semi-retirement for a federal court judge - but has since rescinded the request following the nomination of an attorney based in the Capital District. Hurd's served the court for more than two decades and presides over cases in the federal Alexander Pirnie Building in downtown Utica.
Jorge Alberto Rodriguez, an attorney working for Attorney General Letitia James, is based in the Albany area and lives in Saratoga County - according to the Albany Times Union. Rodriguez was recommended for the nomination by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, however, local officials, including Judge Hurd, have objected to someone from outside the district serving in the position.
Oneida County Executive Picente is latest to chime-in, calling out Gillibrand in a letter to her colleague, Senator Chuck Schumer:
In it, he calls the recommendation of a candidate from outside the district 'wholly unacceptable', saying the junior senator is attempting to "marginalize my community in favor of a community where she sees more political support, campaign donations and ultimately votes," the letter reads.
Picente asks Schumer to 'take a role' in the nomination process to ensure that the "...Mohawk Valley, Oneida County, and the Greater Utica area are not forgotten by Senator Gillibrand."
The Times Union cites sources 'familiar with the plan' as saying Rodriguez would move to the area to preside over cases locally, if his nomination is to be approved.
However, Picente and others have stated there are many eligible and qualified individuals already from and living-in the district who could serve in that role:
“It is an essential piece of our justice system to have representation in the Mohawk Valley, Oneida County and Utica when it comes to the federal judgeship in our U.S. District Court. The appointment of someone from the Capital District, who we are well aware will not preside in our area, is a blatant attempt to steal a judgeship from our region and move it to the Capital District.
“I expect better from Senator Gillibrand...", Picente said.