Higgins passes the gavel to Melanie Jenkins


Associate Village Justice Melanie Jenkins was appointed by Mayor Edwin Fare to fill the remainder of the unexpired term left by Village Justice Virginia Clavin-Higgins following her resignation during the public hearing on May 16.  Fare swore in Jenkins as Village Justice during the hearing who will serve out Higgins’ seat until April 3, 2023. She will have to run in the village’s March election to keep the position.

Clavin-Higgins made history as the first woman to hold the position of village justice in Valley Stream in 2016. Much like Jenkins, she was appointed to fill the unexpired term vacated by another judge, Robert Bogle, who had been elected to serve on the bench in Nassau County Court. Higgins was then elected for a full, four-year term in March 2019. 

Jenkins is now the second woman to hold the position of Village Justice in Valley Stream. She was appointed to the bench as Associate Village Justice on April 4 after Clavin-Higgins recommended her for the position. Prior to that, the position had been vacant for several years after the former Acting Village Justice Charles Rattoballi, who served under former Village Justice Robert Bogle, died.

Jenkins has been a resident of Valley Stream for nearly two decades and a practicing attorney for over 30 years. Before her associate village judgeship, she worked as a Principal Law Clerk for Nassau County Court Judge William J. O’Brien and spent almost several years at the New York State Attorney General’s Office handling labor and employment law cases and then securities law prosecutions.

She also worked in the private sector working as regulatory counsel at Citigroup handling regulatory examinations for the broker-dealer; and as in-house legal counsel for Morgan Stanley and Executive Director at JP Morgan, where, among other things, she managed a team of lawyers and paralegals that investigated and responded to pre-litigation client complaints.

Jenkins earned an undergraduate degree in political science and international studies from Dickinson College; and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Buffalo School of Law.

The Herald contacted the Village Court and was referred to village liaison, Barbara deGrace, who did not respond to repeated requests for comment.