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OCA names new district leaders

Matthew A. Rosenbaum

There are some new leaders in the Seventh Judicial District.

Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau today announced the appointments of Monroe County Supreme Court Justice Matthew A. Rosenbaum as supervising judge of the supreme civil courts in the eight-county district and Family Court Judge Gail A. Donofrio as supervising judge of the family courts.

The appointments were made in consultation with Judge Michael V. Coccoma, deputy chief administrative judge for courts outside New York City; and Justice Craig J. Doran, administrative judge for the Seventh Judicial District.

Judge Donofrio replaces Justice Doran, who was recently named to his new supervisory post. Justice Rosenbaum’s appointment is to a newly created position.

“I’m thrilled that these two fine judges will be joining the team that will lead the Seventh Judicial District,” said Justice Doran. “I’ve known both of them personally for a very long time and worked with both of them for a very long time. I am pleased that they share my philosophy of the value of advocating for the judges and employees of the judicial district while always keeping in mind the importance of the people who come to us for justice.”

Judge Doran said the creation of the new position of supervisor of the supreme civil courts will put all of the courts on equal footing and round out the leadership of the major courts with a supervising judge in each.

He said Justice Henry J. Scudder, presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, was also involved in the discussions.

Gail A. Donofrio

Justice Rosenbaum said he very much appreciates the appointment and that he is meeting regularly with Justice Doran to formulate a plan to make the courts even more efficient.

One area is to consider grouping other types of tort cases for designated calendars as is done now with asbestos and lead paint cases. Justice Rosenbaum said an even more important initiative is to continue with the e-filing pilot program being led by Monroe County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo.

“With the leadership of our county clerk and the Office of Court Administration, I look forward to implementing the e-filing program, which will become a statewide requirement within the next year, mainly to improve on efficiencies and further help members of the bar assist their clients with their everyday lives,” Justice Rosenbaum said.

He said he also plans to be very active in working with the outlying counties to help them make their dockets more efficient as well.

Judge Donofrio said she is humbled and honored by the appointment. She is starting her 13th year as a family court judge so she is familiar with the issues and problems of the family courts and its judges.

“It is my intention to assist all of the workers in family courts including, of course, the judges, the attorney referees, support magistrates and judicial hearing officers, as well as the staff of the family courts to both mete out justice for the children and families that we serve,” she said.

“My focus will also be on continuing to improve and to expedite the court process in order to better the public and to provide premier customer service to the children and families that we serve in family court.”

Judge Donofrio was first elected to the Monroe County Family Court bench in 1999 and re-elected in 2009. A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, she worked as an attorney for the law firm of A. Vincent Buzard before embarking on a judicial career.

Judge Donofrio is active in numerous professional organizations including the Monroe County Juvenile Justice Council and the New York State Unified Court System’s Parent Education and Awareness Program Committee.

Justice Rosenbaum began his tenure as a jurist in 2005 when he was appointed to the district’s Supreme Court by then-Gov. George Pataki. He was elected a Supreme Court justice in 2006. Prior to his ascension to the bench, he was in private practice, most recently as a managing partner at Gray Feldman & Rosenbaum LLP.

Justice Rosenbaum also served as Penfield town councilman from 2000 to 2005. He earned his juris doctor degree from Boston University School of Law.

The appointments are effective immediately.