Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / News / Government Local / Smith’s appointment leaves Pittsford justice vacancy

Smith’s appointment leaves Pittsford justice vacancy

The filling of one vacancy in the town of Pittsford has lead to the filling of another — but also has created another spot to fill.

The Town Board earlier this week appointed town Councilwoman Sandra F. Zutes as supervisor, replacing former Supervisor Bill Carpenter, who had resigned in November to take a position with the Monroe County Water Authority.

In appointing Zutes, a spot on the Town Board was then open, which was filled with the appointment of Town Justice William A. Smith Jr.

Smith, who is legal counsel to the Seneca Casino Corp. and a former county legislator and Republican majority leader in the Legislature, has served as town justice since March 2011. On Dec. 19, Smith resigned as justice and signed an oath book to officially become a member of the Town Board.

The decision to leave the bench did not come easily, Smith said. He enjoyed helping young people find the right path and “dealing with human nature in all of its infinite variables,” Smith said.

“As a lawyer, this was one of the most intellectually interesting things I have ever done,” Smith said. “It was a very difficult decision. I really wanted to make an evaluation of where I thought I could do the best for the community of Pittsford.”

Smith is not ruling out running for the supervisor position and will be talking with family in the weeks ahead to come to a decision.

“I expect to make a decision sooner rather than later,” Smith said.

Zutes, who has served on the Town Board since 1994, said she only plans to fill out the remainder of Carpenter’s term, which ends Dec. 31, 2013. She had been serving as acting supervisor since November. Her council term also expires in 2013.

“I will work diligently over the next year to assure that town services and programs continue to run smoothly and at the high level of quality our residents expect and deserve,” Zutes said.

The Town Board typically seeks resumes for open positions and then appoints the best candidate. As it was for Smith, that “time-honored process” most likely will be the case in deciding on the best candidate to serve as the next town justice, according to Councilman Jared C. Lusk, a partner and member of the real estate department at Nixon Peabody LLP.

There is no time-table for filling the part-time spot, which carries a four-year term. Pittsford Town Justice John E. Bernacki Jr. serves as the other justice.

Smith, who has practiced law since 1984 and for a 10-month period served on the Pittsford Town Board before he was appointed county legislator, was appointed to the bench when Justice Fred Gallina retired after 23 years of service to the town.

Smith then ran successfully for a full term in November 2011. His term expires Dec. 31, 2015.

“He was a very effective member of the court,” Zutes said.