The Syracuse Post-Standard by Jim O'Hara - April 17, 2012
Syracuse, NY - With secrecy still shrouding the decision by Onondaga County Family Court Judge Bryan Hedges to give up his job, a number of lawyers are lining up for the opportunity to replace him on the bench. Republican hopefuls include Patrick Kilmartin, the GOP majority leader in the county Legislature, and George Raus, a former Family Court court attorney/referee removed from office three years ago following a state investigation of his courtroom conduct. On the Democratic side, the job is being sought by Julie Cecile, the executive director of the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. The Republican and Democratic parties are expected to designate candidates within the next month. Members of the Conservative Party’s executive committee are meeting tonight and may choose a candidate then. Both Kilmartin and Raus are seeking the Conservative Party’s backing. Kilmartin, 42, was appointed to the County Legislature in 2006 to fill a vacancy and has been elected in 2007, 2009 and 2011. He’s been the GOP majority leader since January. “My family and I are looking forward to campaigning in the City of Syracuse and the nineteen towns which make up this district and communicating why my experience, temperament and community service make me the best choice for this important position,” Kilmartin noted in formally announcing his candidacy today. Kilmartin previously served as an assistant district attorney and as chairman of the zoning board and tax assessment review board in the town of Onondaga. He serves as a court-appointed law guardian representing children in Family Court. Raus, 61, said he’s looking to return to the court after being forced out of his attorney/referee position in 2009 following an investigation of his conduct by the state Inspector General’s Office. He maintains he was “laid off” from his job since he was never told he was being let go for any wrongdoing. State officials have refused to release the Inspector General’s report. Raus previously served as a Syracuse City Court judge and chairman of the Civilian Review Board. Cecile, 46, executive director of the McMahon/Ryan center since January 2008, is looking for the opportunity to run in her first election contest. She notified members of the McMahon/Ryan center’s board of directors last week of her interest in the Family Court seat. “This position for Family Court has been a lifelong ambition and if I don’t take this opportunity now I am not sure it will come along again,” she noted in breaking the news of her decision to seek the Democratic nomination. Cecile said she had been contemplating a run for the seat when Hedges retired in a couple of years. She said she had not expected the seat to open up as suddenly as it did when Hedges suddenly gave up his post two weeks ago. Whoever receives the parties’ nominations will have to run in November for election to a 10-year term on the Family Court bench.
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