Hon. Michael A. Petucci
It’s difficult for me to express the pride I have in serving as the 109th president of the New York State Magistrates Association (NYSMA). It was an extremely humbling experience to be sworn into that office at our annual conference in Niagara Falls on September 25th. I’ve been a town justice in the Town of Herkimer for eleven years and have served on NYSMA’s Executive Committee for the past seven of them.
Just coming off the heels of our 109th annual conference, I must say that it was very successful with more than 200 Town and Village Justices from throughout the State. Our Association presented more than 50 hours of elective judicial education above and beyond the state required classes. The elective classes we provided at our annual conference alone should be reason enough to attend but there were also countless hours of networking with other judges talking about different cases and situations each had experienced. If you have never attended an annual conference you should plan on it, but if you are one of our past attendees I would like to ask a favor of you; when you are at your next County Association meeting please tell your local judges about the time you had and how good the live classes are – try to recruit one or two people to attend next year. Although we had good attendance this year, there are over 1200 justice courts in our state, throughout 54 counties, so I know we can do better. In the book, Good to Great by Jim Collins, it talks about how so many people stop at good when great may only take a little more effort, we should all try this with the administration of our Courts and recruiting more Judges to come to our annual conference. I would like to see “Great” attendance at our next conference. There are a lot of Judges that don’t realize how much education is provided and knowledge transferred.
I am anticipating another year of different challenges faced by our Courts and Association, however, I have confident that the committees and Judges that I have assigned have the experience and ability to handle whatever may arise. We know that we are still dealing with counsel at arraignment issues as well as CAP courts.
We have a full legislative agenda and a great legislative committee ready to go to work on the initiatives that were voted on during our annual meeting.
Over the past few years the different Presidents have made changes to the openness of our quarterly Executive Board Meetings and this year I plan to do the same. I believe that it is important that our meetings be open for our members to have an opportunity to see what it is like at a meeting to help them decide whether or not they would like to run for a future board position. I am extending an invitation for any member who has never attended an Executive Board Meeting to attend either the December, April, or June meeting and observe how our Association operates. Traditionally our Executive Board Members arrive on Friday evening and get together on an informal social basis before the work session on Saturday. If you would like to attend please contact Tanja so that we can properly acknowledge your attendance and fill you in on all of the details.
I would like to end with something that I have been thinking about now for some time. It is one thing to be supported by your family, your friends, and your local community – but to be supported by a group of your peers from across the State who really only get to interact with you a handful of times throughout the year is very humbling. I can’t thank all of our members enough for allowing me this opportunity to represent our GREAT organization and I promise to do my best in return.