Christensen will take over in village court

The Penn Yan Village Board has agreed to hire Milo Town Justice Mike Christensen to replace Village Justice Matthew Conlon, who turned in his resignation Dec. 16.

Mayor Leigh MacKerchar says Christensen was appointed to the post following an executive session Dec. 17. He will serve from Jan. 1, 2020 through the end of the term, March 31, 2020.

“I’m glad I can help out on short notice, and I plan to seek election in March,” Christensen said Dec. 19. He will continue as the Milo Town Justice as well.

He says court clerk Mariann Griffin, who had planned a Dec. 31 resignation, has agreed to remain in the job through January to assist with the transition, and Christensen has had conversations with District Attorney Todd Casella and Benton Justice David Grace, who serves as Acting Justice in Penn Yan when needed.

He will be having more discussions with the public defenders and others with an interest in the court procedures because he has some thoughts about potential changes.

The transition, combined with the changes that will come with the state’s criminal justice reform laws, will be a challenge, but Christensen says, “We’ll get through it. I want to try to make it more accommodating to the people.”

Other business at the Dec. 17 Village Board meeting included:

• Code Enforcement: The board directed Village Attorney Ed Brockman to draft a proposed local law to amend the Code Enforcement section of the village code to place the code enforcement officer under the authority of the DPW director, and other changes that may be appropriate. MacKerchar says the village has been working on updating this section of the village code for some time, adding that some changes in state codes require action by public works personnel. The board also agreed to create a full time deputy code enforcement officer position.