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Skaneateles says 'Good bye justice'

Skaneateles' Honorable James Matthews will be missed

After 16 years on the bench, the honorable town justice James "Jamie" Mathews has stepped down. Mathews is one of two town justices who preside over the courts for the village and town of Skaneateles. The other is former Supreme Court Judge Charles Major.

"He was a real fair judge," Major said. "He made sure people were treated the same. Always took the time to let the indigent people understand their rights."

Mathews was called away from Skaneateles by warmer climes. He has decided to reside in Florida on more of regular basis, then his hometown of Skaneateles.

"Jamie was so much fun to have a round the office," Skaneateles Town Clerk Janet Aaron said. "But also he was such a good judge -- you always knew he would make the right decision."

Aaron added that the six-foot plus justice of the peace was quite a 'presence' around town hall.

Mathews, a former state trooper, understood the law through his years of enforcement. A gaval inscribed with his years of service was awarded to him.

"I think he really loved it and was not anxious to give it up," Aaron said.

Kathy Dell, who has clerked for the town justices since being hired part time in Nov. 1992, and then full time in Aug. 1996, was appointed to take Mathew's place on the bench.

"I was very proud to be his clerk," Dell said. "He was all business at the bench, no nonsense."

Dell will reside of the court with Justice Major until the November election. At that time she is planning to officially run for the position. She has already been endorsed by the Skaneateles GOP.

"He took into account all perspectives -- from the public at large that he was representing to the individual before him," Dell said. "He was able to look at situations and cut to the root of the matter."

Dell will use her experience as clerk and her experiences with both Major and Mathews to help guide her work on the bench.

The clerk basically handles all the administrative matters and business of the court.

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