Rick Brand Portrait of Newsday reporter Rick Brand taken on

Rick Brand is a longtime Newsday reporter who writes about politics and government on Long Island.

Suffolk Conservatives still have their courthouse clout.

District Court Judge Janine Barbera-Dalli, a Conservative who in November lost her bid to become a State Supreme Court justice, has just been bumped up to become a full-time acting County Court judge. Her annual pay will rise to $179,500, a $23,300 increase.

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Barbera-Dalli, a former Smithtown Conservative chairwoman, was first elected as a judge four years ago. Her Conservative running mate, Deborah Poulos, who also ran a losing race for Supreme Court last fall, was moved up to full-time acting Supreme Court justice with the new year.

Barbera-Dalli’s appointment to acting County Court judge came after her husband, Bartolo Dalli, a CPA, was let go last October after six years as a $111,000-a-year deputy county comptroller.

Dalli was displaced to make room in a Civil Service exempt position for Douglas Sutherland, who failed the Civil Service test to keep his $135,771 job as executive director of taxation and finance.