"I don't want to leave the court any more shorthanded than it already is," he said. "So I am definitely sitting in February, and perhaps March. We'll see."
With Mercure's assignment and the appointment of new administrative judges in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau County, Prudenti has replaced nearly a third of the state's 18 administrative judges.
"The chief judge and I carefully vetted all the candidates and we chose the individuals that we thought would do the best job and were very experienced judges who would do what they need to do…assuming leadership roles knowing that we feel very strongly that we have to improve trial court operations," Prudenti said.
McKeon, 64, currently administrative judge for civil matters in Bronx Supreme Court, is replacing Justice Efrain Alvarado (See Profile) as administrative judge for criminal matters. Alvarado is returning to the trial court.
A former New York City Civil Court judge who was first elected to Supreme Court in 1990, McKeon was appointed presiding justice of the Appellate Term in the First Department in 2006. He will continue to serve as Bronx civil administrative judge.
Alvarado said he is "at heart a trial judge" and is "pleased to return to the trial part."
He said he is also pleased that the Bronx court is getting additional resources to help trim the felony backlog. Last week, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman (See Profile) announced that at least 10 judges from outside New York City will be asked to conduct criminal trials in the Bronx over the next six months (NYLJ, Jan. 16).
"I had always asked for additional resources to address the backlog, which did not happen overnight," Alvarado said. "I am pleased that request is now being addressed."
Knipel, 60, was named administrative judge for civil matters in Brooklyn Supreme Court. He replaces Justice Sylvia Hinds Radix (See Profile), who was promoted to the Appellate Division, Second Department. Knipel, a former New York City Civil Court judge, has been on the Brooklyn Supreme Court bench since 1998.
Zayas, 50, was named administrative judge for criminal matters in Queens Supreme Court, replacing Justice Fernando Camacho (See Profile), who has returned to the trial bench in Suffolk County. Zayas was first appointed to the New York City Criminal Court in 2003 and was named an acting Supreme Court justice in 2010.