WATERLOO –– There’s an old saying that the job isn’t done until the paperwork is finished.
Last fall, the Seneca County Magistrates Association requested the Board of Supervisors to put $50,000 in the 2020 county budget to hire three part-time clerks for the new Consolidated Arraignment Program (CAP) imposed by the state under new bail reform laws.
That idea fell on deaf ears.
Three town judges who do arraignments under the CAP at the county Law Enforcement Center in Romulus came back Tuesday with another plea for help. This one was for $25,000 to hire a single part-time clerk.
The request was referred to the board’s Public Safety Committee for its Feb. 25 meeting.
“When we made our first request, we didn’t know the impact of the centralized arraignments in terms of paperwork. Now that we’ve been doing it for a while, we know more,’’ said Conrad Struzik, Waterloo town and village justice.
“We’re doing more arraignments in fewer shifts and we have nine forms of paperwork to complete before we do an arraignment. It can take several hours,’’ Struzik said.
The CAP schedules arraignments during the mornings Monday thru Friday, with some done at night and on weekends.
“A clerk would be very helpful in handling the volume of paperwork, which has to be sent to the 7th Judicial District,’’ he said.
Struzik said the part-time clerk could work four hours a day, Monday thru Friday, for a total of 20 hours a week.
Covert Town Justice Eileen Schmidt is also a part-time clerk for Seneca Falls town court. She told the board that the judges have strict deadlines for getting paperwork to certain places.
“As a judge, I want to focus on the process, the procedure and making sure I’m being fair to the defendant and the prosecution,’’ Schmidt said. “Having to do this paperwork can be distracting to that, so help would be good and make the system run better,’’ she said.
Judges are paid $125 per arraignment session. Joining Struzik and Schmidt in appearing before the board was new Romulus Town Justice Kyle Collinsworth.
In other action, the board voted 13-0 and without comment to issue a Request For Proposals (RFPs) for consulting services to develop a framework for creation of a Seneca County Water and Sewer Authority, a first for the county.
The county submitted an application for funds for the study through the state Consolidated Funding Application in 2019 and was awarded $37,500, which it had to match. The board agreed to the match to pay for the consultants.
Board chairman Bob Hayssen announced that he will re-establish a Facilities Committee to study where to locate the Mental Health Department and a committee to review the Enterprise vehicle lease program initiated in 2017.
Named to the Facilities Committee were Hayssen, Don Trout of Waterloo, Cindy Lorenzetti of Fayette and David Hayes of Romulus. Serving on the vehicle lease committee will Sheriff Tim Luce, Supervisor Joseph Borst of Ovid and County Manager Mitch Rowe.