Mount Pleasant Councilman Mark Rubeo said it’s a career goal for many attorneys to become a judge.
On June 1, Rubeo will get that opportunity.
The Mount Pleasant Town Board voted 4-0 Tuesday night to appoint Rubeo as interim town justice. Rubeo recused himself from the vote.
He will replace Nicholas Maselli, who recently announced his resignation. Robert Ponzini is currently the second town justice.
Rubeo, 46, who practices general law out of his Hawthorne office and has been an attorney for more than 20 years, said many lawyers think about becoming a judge.
“You always look up to the judge for guidance,” he said.
Rubeo, a member of the Town Board for eight years, said it was a difficult decision to relinquish his role as a local legislator to try something new. He has enjoyed working with current and former board colleagues, including former supervisor Joan Maybury.
“I’m very fond of my fellow council members,” he said.
Prior to his election to the board, Rubeo served on the town Planning Board for five years.
As a town justice, he will preside over a variety of cases such as traffic violations, small claims suits of $3,000 or less and criminal misdemeanor cases.
Rubeo will fill the final seven months of Maselli’s unexpired term, which runs through Dec. 31. He plans to run for the full four-year town justice term in November.
In addition to his law practice, Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi said Rubeo’s experience on the Town Board and Planning Board were assets he would bring to the town justice post.
“We’re comfortable with his background and his demeanor, a lot of things that you want to see in a judge,” Fulgenzi said.
Seven candidates applied for the post and all are “good quality people,” he said.
“It was just that Mark stood out a little bit more,” Fulgenzi said.
The Town Board is in the process of accepting resumes and letters of interest from town residents to fill Rubeo’s Town Board seat. His current four-year term expires at the end of 2019.
Town justices in Mount Pleasant earn a $58,000 salary, while a Town Board member receives a $20,000 annual stipend.
Masselli submitted his letter of resignation last month, informing the Town Board he would step down after 12 years to spend more time with his family.