Four seek Saratoga Springs judge nod

Mills' appointment came in 1988, when the decision was made to do away with two part-time judges and form the current system. Mills was appointed by city council to the 10-year term and won election to his second in 1998. Doern was appointed to his post in 2005.

For Democrats, the seat is as important as any in the town, especially as freshman Republican Mayor Scott Johnson makes a majority of key appointments in the city along party lines.

"It's a 10-year term and it's a long time. If we don't see anyone this time we'll have to wait a while," said Lou Schneider, acting Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee chair.

So far, Montagnino has been the only Democrat to come before the committee seeking the nod. However, Schneider did receive a call from another person interested in the post this week, he said. The two had yet to meet by Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Montagnino, like Dorsey, has extensive background in all facets of criminal proceedings. He has served as both prosecutor and defense. His first attempt at public office never materialized after he was passed over by Democrats to run in 2005 for a state Supreme Court Justice seat. He served as Westchester County assistant district attorney from 1988 to 1991.

"They are looking for a viable candidate with the right qualifications. In criminal law I've covered all the bases. In terms of that experience I'm confident I can do the job," said Montagnino.

Montagnino, 52, is new to the area after moving into his Saratoga vacation home in 2006 to work in the Third Judicial District.

In part, he moved to the area after he along with five other Westchester County court officials in the Ninth Judicial district were reassigned following infighting in the jurisdiction's divorce courts, according to a 2006 New York Law Journal article.

Montagnino, a self ascribed "whistleblower," made a formal complaint with the state Office of Court Administration that a district judge improperly intervened in divorce cases. Subsequently, Montagnino also came under fire. The state found no wrongdoing by either party and reassigned certain justices and asked that Montagnino accept a transfer. He opted to go north, according to the article.

Both Republican and Democratic committees expect to field candidates and make their picks as early as next month.""

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