COLLINS - Brian D. Gernatt of Collins has announced his candidacy for town of Collins justice. As the endorsed candidate of the Republican and Conservative Parties, he is seeking the endorsement of the Democratic Party and Independence Party in the September primary.
He is currently serving as justice in the town of Collins, having been appointed on March 28 to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Norman Peters. In making the appointment, the board noted that an election would be slated for November to fill the seat for a full term.
The town has two justices. Walter Cain holds the other seat to which he was elected in 2012.
Brian D. Gernatt
A lifelong resident of Collins, Gernatt is the son of Elaine and the late Alfred Gernatt. He and his wife Beverly reside at 2600 Gowanda Zoar Road. They have two children, Kimberly, 17, and Brian II, 14, and share three older daughters, Sarah Bosworth, Melissa Gernatt and Kristin (Preston) Lay.
"I ran last year because I missed public service after retirement from the New York State Department of Corrections," Gernatt said, "and I was always interested in being a judge."
During his 25 plus years of service as a corrections officer, Gernatt attained the rank of Lieutenant.
"During my years of training, at Collins, Sing-Sing, Elmira, Attica, Queensboro and Southport Correctional Facilities, I learned the value of proper observation, supervision and report filing protocol. These skills have served me well as town justice these last five months."
He completed "Taking the Bench" training in Albany in April and received his certificate. He then heard his first case four days later. Already, he has presided over 100 cases in town court. Collaborating with his colleague, the town court has already streamlined procedures. The court now works more closely with county and state officials to communicate and more efficiently run the court.
Gernatt is a 1980 graduate of Gowanda Central School. He is a member of St. Joseph's Church and a past member of the St. Joseph School Parent Association. He has been a member of the Gowanda Moose and Gowanda Fire Company and manager of the Collins Fire Company Little League Majors baseball team during the 2011-2012 seasons.
He and Beverly currently own and operate "Capozzi's Too" Pizzeria in South Dayton and manage the farm on Gowanda Zoar Road along with several properties in Collins and Gowanda.
During his 25 years of correctional experience, Gernatt served on the Collins CERT team, completed maximum security Double-Cell training in Collins and supervisor and lieutenant school training in Albany. He has conducted numerous disciplinary hearings while serving as a supervisor and been responsible for day-to-day cell-block routine and complaint resolution as well as supervision of completion, review of accuracy, cataloging and assignment of cases to the proper disciplinary hearing level.
Community service has always been important to Gernatt, as he and several fellow correctional officer volunteers experienced the feeling of helping victims of the 1993 Mississippi River floods. He put that experience to good use as he helped out in Gowanda during the great flood of 2009, donating time and equipment to the cleanup effort.
"Even though I have been in many places in New York state," Gernatt said, "I always knew that this is my home and it was where I wanted to be. I remember working at the ARCO station in the village as a kid in high school and meeting the police officers. I think it was during that time that I became interested in law enforcement. "
"I ask for your vote on primary day September 9, 2014 as I am confident the experience and dedication I bring with me will well serve the people of Collins as your judge."