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The work of a nearly 2-year-old judicial advisory committee is setting the stage for more minorities to work on the Western New York court staff, a top state judicial official said last week.

State Supreme Court Justice Lewis Douglas, visiting Buffalo on one of his periodic statewide fact-finding trips, praised State Supreme Court Justice Rose H. Sconiers for her "very effective job" on the equality front.

Douglas, a Manhattan jurist, heads the state court system's Franklin H. Williams Commission on Minorities. Sconiers heads the state commission's only formal advisory committee on the issue.

Douglas and his staff attended a luncheon in the judges' library on the fourth floor of Erie County Hall in downtown Buffalo on Thursday. They met with the Sconiers advisory group to evaluate hiring problems in the Buffalo-based Eighth Judicial District.

The session reportedly included complaints by some members of the advisory commission about allegedly heavy-handed treatment from some local court administrative officials. But Douglas said it was a "routine" session.

Credible courthouse sources confirmed that Douglas and his staff heard complaints about several high-ranking nonjudicial members of the administrative staff of State Supreme Court Justice Vincent E. Doyle, administrative judge of the Eighth Judicial District.

Doyle, who was praised during the closed-door luncheon for encouraging Sconiers to launch the court staff racial equality effort, was unavailable to comment after the session.

Sconiers also was unavailable to comment.

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