Former Assistant Corporation Council Ted Hommel, a Republican who unsuccessfully sued the city last year for firing him 48 hours after he announced that he was running for Long Beach City Court judge, is entering the race again in an attempt to fill the vacancy that will be created when Judge Roy Tepper retires in January.
Tepper — a Democrat and one of two City Court judges, who has held his seat for 30 years — won a 10-year term last November. Since the mandatory retirement age for judges in New York is 70, however, Tepper, who turned 70 this month, can serve only until Jan. 1. The new judge will serve the balance of his term.
Hommel, 62, is running on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Green Party lines.
“Quite honestly, I feel that my experience and background lends itself very well to serving as a City Court judge,” he said.
Tepper was re-elected in November with 3,958 votes, while Hommel received 3,401. There had been speculation that if Tepper were re-elected, the city manager could appoint a judge who would serve for less than a year and be required to run in a regular election in November 2015. But William Biamonte, the Democratic commissioner of the Nassau County Board of Elections, told the Herald in April that a regular election would be held this November.
The city manager can fill a vacancy, according to the city charter, Hommel said. “But the Board of Elections determined that because Judge Tepper was aging out, they would have an election. And that’s a good thing, because it gives the people an opportunity to elect the next judge.”
Hommel’s announcement comes after Corey Klein, the city’s corporation counsel for 20 years — and Hommel’s former boss — said in April that he would run as a Democrat for City Court judge this year. Klein will face Democrat Scott Nigro — a local attorney and a former city councilman who ran unsuccessfully against Judge Frank Dikranis in 2009 — in a September primary.
“I know them both and I’ve handled closings with Scott, and Corey and I worked together for two and a half years, and I wish them both well,” Hommel said.