It’s funny, the Democrats have an uncanny knack of taking care of their own … and eating their young at the same time.
As first reported by this paper, the party is accepting applications for the position of Board of Elections commissioner through today (Friday, Nov. 25.) The Candidate Review Committee will then interview all interested parties Saturday and then forward a recommendation to the full committee for a vote on Monday.
A pretty short window given Chairman Jack Flynn just announced he was seeking candidates last week.
Further complicating matters, last month, if you remember, the committee voted to recommend the current BOE commissioner, Matt Clyne, to another two-year term.
I guess this one is a do-over?
Last month, the committee ousted Carolyn McLaughlin as chair and replaced her with Flynn – an Albany councilman from the Eighth Ward, a relative by marriage to County Executive Dan McCoy and, by extension, an ally of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
One of the first moves under his tenure was an attempt to table a motion to re-nominate Clyne to another two-year term.
That motion failed, and Clyne’s name was recommended to the Legislature. The next day, Clyne fired Flynn from his $48,500 position at the BOE. Don’t worry about Flynn, though, because Sheriff Craig Apple stepped up and created a new position for him and he wasn’t without a job for more than a few days.
Now, maybe you can see where I got that first graph from.
Clyne, who despite a brief scare last month, thought he was coasting to another term at $90,000-plus a year. Instead, it’s up in the air. I’m hearing he did not submit a resume. and will not be interviewing in front of the Candidate Review Committee on Saturday.
He will, though, his supporters tell me, be nominated on Monday for consideration by the full committee. Whether or not, the powers that be allow that nomination to stand if he doesn’t go through the Candidate Review Committee is anyone’s guess.
My guess, for those who care, is they will fight it because not going through the committee, as Flynn claims the bylaws require, is one reason for nullifying Clyne’s appointment. Should that guess come true, another guess is Clyne gets an attorney if he doesn’t have one already.
What doesn’t require any guesswork is the fact McCoy and Sheehan don’t want Clyne as BOE commissioner. I know, I have a knack for the painfully obvious.
It is unclear who they want for the job, though. One name being bantered about is former Assemblyman Jack McEneny, but I’d be surprised if he would come out of retirement for it.
Whoever ends up being nominated, there is a potential floor fight afoot.
Flynn, as I mentioned, is backed by McCoy, Sheehan and McEneny’s
daughter Rachael is on the city payroll. Presumably, the next BOE commissioner will have their blessing.
In Clyne’s corner is Albany Councilmen Frank Commisso Jr., who is likely to take on Sheehan next year, his father who is majority leader of the county Legislature, Judd Krasher, who Clyne hired to replace Flynn at the BOE, and Ron Bailey, a vocal critic of Sheehan, and others.
The mayor’s election might just be the reason each side is taking such an interest in the BOE commissioner’s spot, half of which is to ensure fair and open elections and half of which is straight up political.
When it comes to a committee fight, though, the odds have to be in favor of McCoy’s team, if for no other reason than they have jobs to offer in county and city government.
Being a member of the committee is a thankless job, albeit one that really doesn’t take too much time and/or effort. And more often than not it’s taken as a favor to a friend to fill a seat nobody else wants. One way to reward that type of loyalty, is to give the committee member – or the committee member’s third cousin, for example – a government job.
Extending a paycheck is also a sure fire way to ensure the committee members vote how you want he or she to vote.
Clyne’s corner may have more energy, and a sense of being right, on their side, and that is all fine and dandy but it doesn’t pay the bills, or offer health care, or a 401K or even get you a cup of coffee.
I previously wrote McCoy wants to be “King of the County” in the tradition of legendary party boss Dan O’Connell. Ousting Clyne and getting a stronger ally in the BOE is a step in that direction.
We will have to see if the Commisso team can be a check and balance to the McCoy team much like The Breslin Brothers (former County executive Mike, Sen. Neil and Judge Tom) kept a check and balance on (Mayor Jerry) Jennings’ team … and vice versa.
Or, if McCoy does become the next O’Connell.
I guess it’s up to the Democratic Party Committee to decide which direction they ultimately want to go, and they start mapping that course – literally and figuratively – Monday night.
Jim Franco has been covering the Capital District for more than 2- years. He can be reached at 878-1000 or [email protected]