SCHENECTADY — After five years of serving as the city’s corporation counsel, Carl Falotico has formally announced his decision to seek a City Court judge seat.
“As corporation counsel, I gained deep experience and expertise working within our City Court system and I understand the important role the justice system plays in serving our community," Falotico said in a released statement. "This opportunity to serve the citizens of Schenectady and continue my public service at a higher level is both humbling and exciting.”
Falotico, 35, will formally declare his campaign on Tuesday for the seat being vacated by Judge Guido Loyola, who will retire at the end of the year.
Falotico has served as city corporation counsel since 2014. Before that, he served as assistant corporation counsel and in the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office, where he served on the Special Victims Unit handling domestic violence and sex crime cases.
The lifelong Capital District resident graduated from Siena College in 2006 and received his law degree from St. John’s Law School in Queens in 2009, where he served as editor-in-chief of the New York International Law Review.
Falotico said his background has made him uniquely qualified to fill the role.
“I don’t think any job prepares you more for City Court than corporation counsel,” he said. “I’ve worked on every different case City Court handles.”
While serving as corporation counsel, Falotico has handled a wide range of cases: misdemeanor prosecutions, small claims, city code and building code violations, evictions, housing-related issues and work on criminal cases overlapping with the county District Attorney’s Office.
Falotico said he most enjoys cases where he can make a difference in the lives of ordinary people, such as when he represented a city resident in 2013 pro bono to help retrieve a $575 security deposit from a landlord.
“When you don’t have a lot, it’s the little things like that that really make a difference,” he said. “Those are the situations I’m most proud of.”
If elected, Falotico will join Robert Hoffman, Mark Caruso and Teneka Frost on the bench in January.
City Court garnered headlines earlier this year when Mayor Gary McCarthy proposed eliminating one of the four judgeship positions, citing what he claimed were reduced caseloads. But the state Office of Court Administration rebuffed his plan, and the City Council vetoed his decision in March.
City judges serve 10-year terms.
Falotico was endorsed by the city Democratic Committee for the position earlier this year, and has obtained the Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Working Families Party lines.
Republicans are not running a candidate.
Despite the lack of opposition so far, Falotico said he plans on running a vigorous campaign.
“I’m treating this race like I have an opponent,” he said.
Serving as Corporation Counsel can be challenging, he said: The job requires his office to represent the mayor’s office, City Council and city employees, not all of whom may not always have the same agenda.
And it’s not always easy to dispense legal advice, especially when it is advice parties would prefer not to hear.
Falotico said he’d like to believe he’s been fair and impartial during his tenure
“I’m positive I have that reputation while working in an environment that makes it a little challenging,” he said.
Carl and his wife, Jackie Falotico, live on Sumner Avenue with their 1-year old son Gerard, and their rescue dog Oscar.