State Senator Shelley B. Mayer (SD-37) and Assemblyman Steve Otis (AD-91) announced today the passage of their legislation in both houses to help the Town of Rye assume the court responsibilities of the Village of Port Chester. The Village voted to dissolve its village court last year with the shift in responsibilities to transfer to the Town on May 15, 2021.
The Port Chester village court has been responsible for a busy caseload that necessitates adding justices to the Rye town court to accommodate the level of activity the town court will now receive. The town has carefully reviewed the anticipated workload. This request matches that analysis. With the dissolution of the village court and expansion of the town court the result will be a reduction of one full local justice position.
State Assemblyman Steve Otis said, “The Town of Rye is committed to being ready on May 15th to fully address the caseload sent their way. This legislation allows them to implement their plan to provide for a seamless transition. Supervisor Zuckerman, the Town Board and their sitting justices have developed a plan to meet the community’s needs.”
Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am so pleased the legislature passed this important bill requested by the Town of Rye. This court consolidation will increase efficiencies and provide for taxpayers' savings while ensuring there are the resources necessary to serve all the needs of both Port Chester and Rye. Thank you to my colleagues and Assembly partner, Assemblyman Steve Otis for supporting this effort, and thank you to the Village of Port Chester, Supervisor Zuckerman and the entire Town of Rye for working with us to make these important changes to better serve all of the residents of the Town of Rye.”
Town of Rye Supervisor Gary Zuckerman said, “The Town of Rye is extremely pleased that, through the efforts of Assemblyman Steve Otis and State Senator Shelley Mayer, we were able to secure two additional judges for the Rye Town Justice Court. With the dissolution of the Port Chester Justice Court effective this coming May 15, the caseload of the Town Court will increase exponentially. The elimination of Port Chester's three judges because of such dissolution would have presented an overwhelming situation for our two Town Judges. Senator Mayer and Assemblyman Otis were able to move the proposed legislation quickly and efficiently through the complex legislative process to achieve the resulting success. The Town is grateful to both for this accomplishment.”
To allow for the transition, this legislation authorizes the Town of Rye to elect two additional justices and allows for the appointment of acting justices by the town until justices can be elected at the next general election in November. It allows for the election of one of the new justice positions to an initial two-year term to ensure that no more than two justices are up for election in the same year. The legislation will transfer all village court actions and proceedings to the Rye town court.