PELHAM, N.Y. John Gardner was appointed town justice by Town Supervisor Peter DiPaola and approved by the Town Board in a special Friday morning meeting. Gardner, a Pelham resident for 13 years, will be taking over retiring Judge Stephen Huff.
Gardner, a father of four, thinks it is unfortunate the judge had to step down, but is glad that DiPaola and the board selected him to replace Huff.
Its a sad thought in that Judge Huff is going to be stepping down after serving so well, for so long, said Gardner. I was happy I was given this opportunity entrusted with it. Hopefully, Ill serve fairly and efficiently as town justice.
DiPaola is confident that Gardner will do well based on his years of experience.
His qualifications I think speak for themselves on his resume, DiPaola stated at the meeting. He also did not specify the date Gardner will be sworn in.
Gardner, who graduated from Villanova University and then earned his law degree from Fordham Law School, has worked in private practice since 1993. His firm took on matters that dealt with real estate in addition to criminal and civil litigation.
Prior to that, the 50-year-old served as a Westchester County assistant district attorney from 1986-1993. Gardner believes his overall experience means he will hit the ground running once he begins his bench duties.
Im not nervous going in, he stated. Ive been involved with the court system since 1986 and I have spent an awful lot of time in court. I know exactly how the process works. Im confident that I can make it work.
Gardner plans on distancing himself from Huffs legacy and creating his own instead.
Im not trying to step in anybody elses shoes, said Gardner. Im just gonna go day by day and make my own path. His shoes are too big to fill, so just one day at a time.
Gardner will serve as interim town justice until the end of December. Elections will be held in November to determine the next town justice, who will start on a four-year term next January.
This is an unfortunate circumstance that we had to deal with in the short term and come election time, residents will once again be able to have their voices heard, said DiPaola.
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