East Hampton Town has two town justices who serve four-year terms and alternate on the ballot. Each appears on the bench for two weeks then uses two weeks for desk work. Each position pays $75,000 despite the job appearing to be less than full time.
Justice Court is in session only three days a week, and the building itself was summarily closed to the public on Tuesdays earlier this year — and good luck getting a court staffer on the phone the rest of the time. This is high on the list of what Stephen Grossman, who is hoping to unseat Justice Lisa R. Rana, thinks ought to be changed.
Mr. Grossman has been in private practice here for years and has run unsuccessfully in the past for a number of judicial positions, including this one. He has criticized the court as far too slow in disposing of zoning and quality-of-life cases, allowing violations to continue unchecked, sometimes for years. When businesses are charged, he says, defendants’ lawyers tend to run the show without objection from the bench while the interests of affected neighbors take a back seat.
Ms. Rana, who comes from Amagansett, is a two-term justice, who is sometimes reported as tardy by those who appear in her court. After eight years, she may be settling in for what appears to her to be a long, comfortable career as town justice. While term limits might not be in the best interest of the electorate, getting a new justice in the court every now and then might make the system run more efficiently and help the town enforce its laws more promptly and effectively. We endorse Mr. Grossman.