Term limited City Councilman Vincent Gentile (Bay Ridge) may talk about finishing out his term that ends next year, but he’s getting fitted for a parachute just in case he needs a soft landing to his next government position.
That after Kings County Politics has learned that Gentile applied for and passed the Judicial Screening Committee for the Kings County Democratic Party for the position of Judge to the Civil Court.
Gentile’s name was one of 15 attorneys and current jodges that applied for and passed the screening process as per a letter to the County’s Democratic district leaders dated May 2.
There are currently several Civil Court Judicial seats open in the county including the Fifth District, which includes parts of Southern Brooklyn that became vacant with the election of former Civil Court Judge Noach Dear to the State Supreme Court last year.
Gentile’s office was apparently unaware that the council member applied for the Civil Court Judge seat, and then played it down after checking on it.
“Councilman Gentile is keeping his options open for after his term ends. He’s focused on serving his constituents for the remainder of his term and he would continue to serve them for another 20 years if he could,” said Gentile spokesperson Travis L. Lamprecht.
Gentile’s application to become a judge also fueled the rumors that his political friend, Mayor Bill de Blasio, will appoint Gentile as an interim judge to the vacant seat as is the mayor’s authority until a judicial election is held.
It’s a possible move that de Blasio’s office neither confirmed or denied.
“The administration takes a thorough and thoughtful approach when making judicial appointments to ensure that the candidate is well-qualified and diverse. The Mayor announces Judicial appointments once they have been made,” said de Blasio Spokesperson Raul Contreras.
If Gentile does step down for a seat on the bench, which pays $159,900 annually, it will set up a mad scramble in a special election to replace him.
According to city bylaws, when a City Council member officially resigns, the mayor has three days to call a special election for the seat, which would then be held on the first Tuesday after 45 days from that day.
Once announced, petitioning starts immediately and candidates have seven days to get the necessary signatures to get on the ballot. City Council special elections are nonpartisan and there are no run-offs, meaning that there are no party primaries, that anyone who can make the ballot is in, and whichever candidate earns the most votes wins.