WARREN — Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has picked local attorney Dean Ausilio to serve on the bench of the 37th District Court, filling a vacancy created by the departure of Judge Dawnn Gruenburg in May.
“It took quite a while. They do a very good job of weighing all the factors and looking for what they want to see in a judge,” said Ausilio, a Warren resident with a history of ties to the city and the 37th District Court. “I guess I wasn’t surprised at how long it took, but I can’t argue with the results. I’m certainly honored and very happy with the governor’s decision.”
An attorney for 26 years, Ausilio said he has represented parties in a wide variety of criminal and civil cases, including many in the 37th District Court.
He served as Warren’s deputy treasurer from 1987 to 1988, and was appointed by former Mayor Mark Steenbergh to adjudicate cases for the city’s Administrative Hearings Bureau, or “blight court,” in 2006. Ausilio also served as the chairman of the Macomb County Republican Party from 1989-1990.
The 37th District Court has three other judges — Chief Judge John Chmura, Judge Jennifer Faunce and Judge Matthew Sabaugh — and several visiting judges sat on the bench to help with the docket since Gruenburg left in May to take a post with the Social Security Administration.
“I think it’s a great appointment,” Chmura said of the governor’s decision to select Ausilio for the judgeship. “He’s been practicing here in this court for 25 years, I think, or something like that. He knows the court. He knows the district court really well. He grew up in Warren. He’s a Warren guy.
“When you combine those things, that’s the perfect appointment,” Chmura said.
Ausilio was selected from a final pool of candidates that also included 37th District Court Administrator Rob Curtis, Assistant Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Suzanne Faunce, and local attorneys Sal Palombo and Terrance Gilsenan.
The appointment lasts until 2014, at which time Ausilio will be required to run again for the remaining two years of Gruenburg’s term. If elected in 2014, Ausilio could seek election to his first six-year term in 2016.
District court judges in Michigan make $139,000 annually.
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