CARTHAGE — This election season has had many surprises and questions of who will hold certain seats. Such has been the case of the town of Wilna justice race.
Two candidates names appeared on the November ballot — Richard A. Buckingham and James H. Brotherton. But prior to Election Day, Mr. Brotherton dropped out of the race citing a conflict of interest under the Hatch Act of 1932 due to his Department of Defense job on Fort Drum. Mr. Brotherton received 62.85% of the vote in the town justice race.
According to town supervisor Paul H. Smith, Mr. Brotherton formally declined the position leaving the town to appoint a justice. The supervisor also received word from Mr. Buckingham that he was not interested in being appointed to the bench.
Therefore the town board held an emergency meeting Monday and unanimously approved the appointment of Faith L. Parks.
The 43-year-old Carthage native had unsuccessfully ran for village of Carthage justice in the November election, losing to former village justice Richard J. Mushtare, 368 votes to 206.
Mr. Smith said they did not consider anyone else for the position and that the board had to act quickly since the training required to become a judge is slated for the first week of December and will not be held again until April.
“She ran for the village court and put a lot of effort into it,” the supervisor said.
Running as an independent, Ms. Parks, a math intervention teacher for Watertown City School District, said she wanted “to bring an energetic, fresh and open minded perspective to the justice system.”
“I will follow the law set forth by the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of New York regardless of my own personal views,” she said in a pre-election interview. “I will do so with ethical integrity, impartial and dedicated ability.”
Following her appointment, Ms. Parks said she would appoint Peter J. Kelley as her clerk.
Mr. Kelley is the chief financial officer for Northern Nurse Practitioners and a member of the New York Guard State Defense Force 10thAC 3rd Detachment at the 174th Attack Wing, at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse.
Ms. Parks said she was excited about the appointment.
“I am very happy that they thought of me,” she said. “It is a big honor. I hope I make them proud.”
If Ms. Parks passes the required training for justices, she will be sworn into office at the town’s end of the year meeting at 10 a.m. Dec. 30. Her one-year appointment would begin Jan. 1 and Judge Buckingham’s term ends Dec. 31. With the appointment, Ms. Parks would be the first female town justice.