Questionable Actions By Democratic Legislators

What were Chautauqua County legislators thinking last week when they proposed appointing Loren Kent as the next Democratic election commissioner?

We aren’t quibbling with Kent’s qualifications, nor are we opposing the appointment of the Luz Torres, the Dunkirk resident chosen for the post by the county Democratic Party.

Our issue is with the flagrant disregard for taxpayers shown by the legislature’s five Democrats — Charles Nazzaro, Robert Whitney, Paul Whitford, all of Jamestown, Robert Bankoski of Dunkirk and Christine Starks of Fredonia — who introduced the resolution for legislative action and put county taxpayers on the hook for a lawsuit over internal Democratic Party infighting.

While both the Republican and Democratic election commissioners answer county election questions for members of all parties, the question of appointing Torres or Kent to the Democratic election commisssioner question has to be answered first by Democrats. Thus far, Democrats can’t unite, and legally the Democrats have two attempts to get an election commissioner approved before the legislature has its say. The legislature tabled an appointment resolution in October, which means it technically hasn’t taken any action yet.

John Hemmer, Bob Scudder and Bill Ward, all Republicans, voted against the resolution to appoint Kent. Kudos to them.

As for the rest of the legislature, it’s outrageous they would wade into this one-party fight and put county taxpayers on the hook defending an unnecessary lawsuit. The statutory language was clear enough that it should have been readily apparent a lawsuit was coming if the resolution naming a new election commissioner was introduced, and Democrats weren’t shy about saying a lawsuit was going to be filed.

Legislators who chose to put party over county should have known better.


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