HONESDALE—At their regular business meeting last Thursday morning, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners honored Patricia Biondo and Judith Romich with certificates of appreciation for their service as Wayne County Jury Commissioners.
Romich was recognized for her 24 years managing the jury selection process, beginning in 1993 and ending this year.
Biondo was likewise applauded for her 16 years of service, starting in 2001 and also ending at the end of this month.
President Judge Raymond Hamill was present at the meeting to offer his gratitude for the pair's commitment over the years.
“We could not engage in trials without a selection process with integrity and fairness,” said Hamill. “[The jury commissioners] selected the panels with integrity and with fairness ... Patricia and Judy have done a great job for us ...”
Romich and Biondo will finish out their terms, ending on December 31, 2017.
Afterward, the office of Jury Commissioner will cease to be, having been abolished by county resolution in September of last year.
As earlier reported, it was decided that the duties of jury selection could be accomplished by the judge and other court staff without the need for a specialized elected office to do so.
Eliminating said office would also allow the county to redistribute money from those salaries to other areas of the budget.
When presenting the certificates at Thursday's meeting, Board of Commissioners Chairman Brian Smith stated, “I do wanna just take a minute to say thank you for all the years of service that you've given the public here in Wayne County.”
He described the office as “necessary at the time,” noting the dedicated efforts both Biondo and Romich put into the selection of juries over the years.
He lauded the pair as “role models” by which others in the community would do well to emulate.
Commissioner Wendell Kay noted that “... one of the real hallmarks of an efficient employee and efficient operation is that you never hear any controversy, you never hear any complaints, you never hear any problems. They just seem to roll along, functioning almost as if they're just a force of nature on their own.”
Kay noted both Biondo and Romich have demonstrated such prowess in every capacity in which he has known them.
“I would hope that you realize that that's a very difficult record to accumulate. It's not easy for a person to work in a public sector and be that well thought of.”
In a similar vein, Commissioner Joseph Adams compared the pair to umpires, noting that the best among them are those who complete their task without strife.
“You being the umpires of the whole jury process, … and standing in the background not being drawn to attention is a great thing, and we certainly admire your abilities to do that.”