Watertown City Court Could Get Another Full-Time Judge

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From murder cases to traffic tickets, Watertown City Court is busy.

Watertown isn't alone.

That's why state lawmakers have decided to make part-time judges, full-time in a number of cities including Watertown.

"In a time when we've seen court dockets ever increasing, this really allows the city courts affected to keep up with their ever-increasing caseloads," said David Bookstaver, spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration.

In Watertown, this will affect City Judge Cathy Palermo, who is now part-time.  

If Governor Cuomo signs the law, she'll become full-time next April, joining full-time judge Eugene Renzi.

Nobody seems to know the details, but Mayor Jeff Graham wonders if the courtroom and court chambers will need renovations.

He says this could be the opportunity to eliminate a bottleneck between the City Hall entrance and the courtroom.

It's the state that pays judges' salaries and the state rents the courtroom from the city.

So if the court facility in Watertown needs to be expanded, who picks up the tab?

"We don't expect that to be a big issue. If that is an issue, we'll address that on a case by case basis," said Bookstaver. 

Judge Renzi's job is an elected position.  

The part-time post Palermo holds is by City Council appointment.

State officials say that won't change even after she becomes full-time.

Monday, October 20, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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