Smithfield accepting applications for part-time municipal court judge

Smithfield accepting applications for part-time municipal court judge

SMITHFIELD - Lawyers wishing to add a gavel to the tools of their trade are being encouraged to apply for the part-time municipal court judgeship about to be filled by the Town Council.

At its Dec. 3 meeting, the council said Town Manager Dennis Finlay will accept letters of interest immediately, and that if a sufficient number of candidates have not expressed interest by its Jan. 7 meeting, it will advertise the position.

Officials here authorized creation of a municipal court several years ago, but for economy reasons have never appointed the judge necessary for its operation.

It's expected that the annual salary will be set to match that of the part-time probate judge, $7,000.

The court will deal with violations of town ordinances, primarily involving zoning and minimum housing regulations, but not with traffic offenses, which are handled by the state Traffic Tribunal.

Persons dissatisfied with decisions of the local judge can appeal to the Superior Court.

Council President Alberto LaGreca Jr. said his preference is for interviewing no more than three candidates and giving the job to a Smithfield resident. When the council recently named a new probate judge it selected Matthew Fabisch, who lives in town.

Councilwoman Suzanna Alba said she wants the council to interview all candidates who express interest.

She said she was dissatisfied with the process involving Fabisch, not because of his qualifications, but because the council never interviewed a second candidate, Coventry resident Nicholas Gorham, who had been serving as acting probate judge.

In other actions at its Dec. 3 meeting the council appointed Alphonse DiPetrillo Jr. to the Housing Authority for a term expiring in 2019, and Allen B. Schwartz and Vartan Sahakian to the Sewer Authority for terms expiring in 2018 and 2019, respectively.