Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: November 10, 2003

Seal of the Unified Court System
Hon. Ann Pfau Elevated to First Deputy Chief Administrative Judge;
Hon. Neil Firetog Named Administrative Judge of
Supreme Court in Brooklyn and Staten Island

NEW YORK - Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman announced today the appointment of Hon. Ann Pfau as First Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, a position that will rank second highest administratively within the New York State Judiciary. The appointment was made in consultation with all four Presiding Justices of the Appellate Divisions, and with the approval of Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye.

At the same time, Judge Lippman designated Hon. Neil Jon Firetog as Administrative Judge of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial District, a position Judge Pfau is vacating in order to assume her new office. The appointment was made after consultation with A. Gail Prudenti, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, and with the approval of the Chief Judge. The Second Judicial District is composed of Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Judge Lippman said, “For nearly two years, Judge Pfau has maintained two critical and highly visible posts within the Judiciary: Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Management Support—a statewide office—and Administrative Judge in the Second Judicial District. In shouldering the responsibilities of these two positions, Judge Pfau has exhibited exceptional leadership, superb managerial skills and the highest ethical standards. Over the last two years—a period of great upheaval within the Brooklyn courts—Judge Pfau has deftly handled the crisis with calmness and even-handedness, exhibiting true professionalism and keen judgment. During her tenure, she has made a herculean effort to shore up public confidence in the courts, instituting numerous reforms to strengthen accountability, increase productivity and provide more personalized attention to the needs and concerns of litigants and the public. At the same time, she has firmly supported her judicial colleagues and court personnel—the vast majority of whom serve the public to their utmost ability everyday—and, in doing so, has earned the respect of the wider legal community.”

Judge Lippman added, “I have worked with Judge Pfau on a daily basis for the past 14 years and know firsthand her extraordinary skills, which have made her a superb judge and one of the most outstanding court administrators in the country. In her new role as First Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, Judge Pfau now will take on an even more expansive role within New York’s Judiciary, overseeing the day-to-day operational and administrative functions of the state trial court system. There is no candidate more qualified to fill this vital post than Judge Pfau, and I am grateful that she has agreed to accept this new challenge.”

For some two decades, Judge Pfau has held administrative positions in the Unified Court System, most recently as the Administrative Judge of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial District, a designation she received in February 2002. During this time she continued to serve in a dual capacity as the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Management Support—a position to which she was appointed in 1997 and which entails overseeing the daily operations of the Office of Court Administration. Judge Pfau had also previously served as Special Counsel to the Chief Administrative Judge, as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chief Administrator for Management Support and as a member of the Office of Court Administration’s legal staff. She was appointed to the New York City Criminal Court in 1998, and was named an Acting Supreme Court Justice in 2001. Judge Pfau received her law degree from Brooklyn Law School, a graduate degree in special education from Columbia University and her undergraduate degree from Wells College. In her new capacity as First Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, Judge Pfau will continue to maintain her inventory of cases, along with her judicial chambers in Brooklyn.

Judge Lippman also praised Judge Firetog, the Second District’s incoming Administrative Judge, saying, “Judge Firetog is one of the most respected and accomplished jurists within the Brooklyn legal community—reputed for his fairness, sharp intellect and unassailable integrity. Judge Firetog possesses an intimate knowledge of the workings of the Brooklyn courts, having spent his entire professional career there, first as a local and federal prosecutor, and for the last 20 years as one of the county’s foremost judges, during which time he has been entrusted with numerous supervisory roles. His prodigious judicial and managerial experience undoubtedly will serve him well in heading a court known both for its productivity and formidable caseloads. I am confident that Judge Firetog will successfully meet all the challenges of this new and difficult assignment and look forward to working with him.”

Judge Firetog was appointed to the Brooklyn bench two decades ago as a Criminal Court Judge and six years later was designated an Acting Justice on the State Supreme Court. During the lengthy span of his judicial tenure, he has presided over hundreds of felony and misdemeanor trials, conducted arraignment proceedings and handled all phases of litigation, as well as served in various supervisory positions, including overseeing search warrant and eavesdropping applications by the District Attorney’s Office and supervising the Kings County Video Conference Part. Prior to his appointment as a judge, he served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime Strike Force for the Eastern District of New York, where he prosecuted several notable official corruption and organized crime cases, after beginning his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. A long-time Brooklyn resident, Judge Firetog received his law degree from the University of Michigan School of Law and undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.

With the appointment of Judge Pfau as First Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, the Office of Court Administration (OCA) will be reconfigured to absorb her previous responsibilities as Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Management Support. Those responsibilities will be assumed by Lawrence Marks, Esq., and Ronald Younkins, Esq. Mr. Marks will hold the position of Administrative Director of the Office of Court Administration and will be in charge of the day-to-day management of the office. Mr. Younkins will serve as the Chief of Operations of the Office of Court Administration and will be in charge of long-term projects and initiatives. In their respective capacities, they will oversee the OCA divisions of human resources, budget, technology, court operations, administrative services, public safety, court research and jury services, communications, public affairs, and court facilities.

All appointments will be effective January 1, 2004.


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