Liverpool: Should the village justice live in the village?

Blue-and-white lawn signs have sprung up along First Street in the village of Liverpool:

"Just say no to Local Law #1-2008. Keep justice 'in' the village."

The signs are part of a campaign being waged by village resident Anthony LaValle, a practicing attorney, who opposes Mayor Marlene Ward's proposal to eliminate the residency requirement for the now-vacant post of village justice.

At its Dec. 17 meeting, the Liverpool Village Board of Trustees accepted the resignation of longtime Village Justice Herman Harding, who lives on Bass Street. A new judge will soon be appointed by the mayor, and the appointee will likely stand for election in June.

Public hearing Jan. 22

If the trustees discontinue the residency rule following a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 22, at the Village Hall, Ward will appoint acting Village Justice George Alessio to the vacant position, she said. Alessio lives outside the village on Donlin Drive in the town of Salina.

"The village law prohibits a 'non-resident' judge and for obvious reasons," LaValle wrote in a recent letter to The Review. "People should govern themselves and not be governed by outsiders."

LaValle presented the mayor with his resum (c) before the village board's Dec. 17 meeting.

"I offered my services to fill in," he said. "I asked them to please consider me because I'd like to help the village in any way I can."

For the past couple weekends, LaValle has been visiting neighborhoods with petitions, brochures and lawn signs. As of Jan. 14, he said he'd collected some 40 signatures on a petition urging the board to retain the residency requirement.

"There are three elected positions in village government, mayor, trustee and judge," LaValle said in a telephone interview. "If village residency isn't required for the village justice, what about the mayor and trustees? Would it be OK for them to live outside the village as well?"

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