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Jay residents approve elimination of justice position

Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board Chairman Randy Douglas.

Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board Chairman Randy Douglas. Photo by Daniel E. Alexander.

— There will be one fewer justices in the Town of Jay starting Jan. 1.

Residents of the town voted 245-148 Oct. 16 in favor of a town resolution eliminating the town justice position currently held by Robert Minogue. That will leave Dan Deyoe as the lone town justice, overseeing cases at the Au Sable Forks Community Center Monday nights.

Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas said he was pleased the voters validated the decision made by the town council in July to move forward with the departmental change.

“I am happy that we had a good, large turnout for a special election like this,” Douglas said. “I honestly believe that we have done what is in the best interest of the town of Jay.”

Minogue, whose term expires at the end of 2013, is currently on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot for re-election to a position that has now officially been done away with. He was being opposed by Green Party Candidate Rosamond Lincoln-Day.

The vote, known as a permissive referendum, was forced after a petition was filed by Green Party town council candidate Fred Balzac in August, who felt the town had not been transparent in making the decision to eliminate the position and that the change would have a negative effect on the office. Balzac and Day had been campaigning on that platform.

“Although we were unable to persuade a majority of voters that eliminating the second Town Justice position is a bad idea, I think we, as Greens, can be proud of what we achieved with this effort,” Balzac said. “Nearly 400 townspeople had a say in this decision, rather than only five members of the town board. The turnout for a one issue special election held on a Wednesday in mid-October is astounding when you think about it, and it bodes well for increased interest in the Nov. 5 general election and for public engagement in the future.”

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