Conservative Lawrence Voigtsberger, a veteran Suffolk court official, has won the $124,507-a-year job as the county’s new commissioner of jurors over four other finalists and 100 more who applied for the job statewide.
Voigtsberger, 62, who over 33 years has risen from a senior court officer in New York City to Suffolk case management coordinator, was chosen Tuesday after finalists underwent interviews.
The county jury board, which is made up of judges of the supreme, county and surrogate courts, chose to make the selection in a open voice vote rather than a secret ballot. Judicial officials, however, declined to disclose the vote.
Voigtsberger, a Farmingville resident, succeeds another Conservative Party member, Michael O’Donohoe, a former county lawmaker who held the job for 22 years.
While the job in the past has been considered a patronage plum, Suffolk Administrative Judge C. Randall Hinrichs downplayed any political maneuvering, noting that Voigtsberger’s experience makes him “well qualified” for the job, that his salary goes up less than $5,000 and that he has no control over hiring.
“My sense is that no political pressure was brought to bear,’ said Hinrichs. “I don’t see it as a big plum.”
Frank Tinari, the new Suffolk Conservative leader, said he was “not involved” in any lobbying, but added Voigtsberger “has demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism” over the years he has known him and is “well respected” by those who deal with him.
Kenneth Auerbach, Brookhaven’s Conservative co-leader who has been critical of Tinari and former chairman Edward Walsh (who was recently convicted of federal corruption charges), has no issue with Voigtberger’s selection. “I couldn’t imagine a more qualified person from a merit standpoint,” he said.
Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said he backed no one and left the decision to the judges. Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle said he had no direct knowledge of any leader involvement, adding all party leaders were “very mindful” that interference could “cause serious harm” to the process.
“My answser to any judge who called me was they should choose the most qualified person and if it was a Conservative I had no problem with that,” he said.
In his job as commissioner, Voigtsberger is responsible for providing the courts with qualified jurors for trials and grand juries, overseeing juror qualifications, and enforcement in cases of non-compliance. He begins his new job June 2.