Local Judge Supports Changing Retirement Age

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The Honorable Hugh Gilbert is a supreme court justice in New York's 5th Judicial District.

He has been a judge for over 35 years.

Gilbert enjoys coming to work everyday and has no desire to stop.

But with the state's mandatory age limit, he may be forced to retired in four years.

"I still feel ready, able, and want to come to work and do want to serve the people," said Gilbert.

Gilbert is just one of hundreds of judges statewide who could face retirement before they're ready: at age 70 or 76, depending on their courts.

For Gilbert, it's 76, which includes three two-year extensions.

"I'm hoping that when I'm 76, I feel as good and can be as good as I am today. So I'm hoping that four, five, six years are not a significant difference as it might have been 50 or 60 years ago," he said.

But that long-standing age limit could soon change.

The state Legislature is considering a bill to extend the retirement age for judges to 80 - essentially, adding the option for more extensions.

"This would allow the court system to retain resources and to retain a great deal of experience. And so this is something we're strongly supportive of," said David Bookstaver of the New York State Court System.

The bill has sailed through the state Assembly and is now heading to the Senate.

But even if it passes, the voters will have the final say, since the bill would change the state constitution.

As for Judge Gilbert, he supports it.

Friday, October 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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