Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

- Subsribe at
March 19th, 2016

Fiasco Over Board of Elections Commissioner – Alvarez Saves the Day

The recent furor over whether or not to approve Cora Edwards as Democratic Elections Commissioner has a much more far reaching significance than simply determining who would head up that office for the next nine months.

What should have been a pro forma simple protocol vote and confirmation once Sullivan County Democratic committee members voted and selected their choice to head the Board of Elections turned into an embarrassing uncalled for fiasco.

Democrat Nadia Rajsz was joined by Republicans Alan Sorensen, Kathy Owens, Joe Perrello, and Luis Alvarez in voting yes for Cora Edwards as the Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner. Republican Terri Ward joined Democrats Mark McCarthy, Ira Steingart, and Scott Samuelson in voting no.

Sullivan County Democrat’s Video of Meeting

While certain legislators maintained that they were against the Edwards nomination because they felt a former legislator should not take a County position at least a year after they left office – The simple truth is that this really had to do with their personal hatred and political opposition towards Edwards.

When Edwards decided not to seek reelection there was no indication there would be a vacancy at the Board of Elections. In fact, there was no indication that Former Commissioner Ann Prusinski would resign from the position until after the new legislature took over. If you recall, Prusinski’s resignation was part of a Federal lawsuit settlement in February with Hasidic voters in Bloomingburg.

Despite the fact that Sullivan County Democratic Chair Donna Schick handed the legislature the Democratic Committee’s selection and certification – Sources in the know say she was working with certain legislators to have the legislature not deal with the issue for 30 days so they would not have to vote on the Democratic Committee choice. That move fortunately was stopped by Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez.

The next step was to get a no vote or force a tie (attempting to coerce Legislator Nadia Rajsz, whose daughter works in the Board of Elections office, to abstain due to an invented conflict of interest diatribe) – so that Schick along with the Democratic members of the legislature could make their own selection as to whom the Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner should be.

While members who voted against Edwards pretended to be righteous in their insistence of a one-year moratorium – If they want to change the rules – They should have proposed to change the administrative code as their first order of business in January. Also, legislative holdovers Samuelson and Steingart could have proposed it with the last legislature.

Unlike other paid positions voted for by the legislature – Board of Elections Commissioner positions throughout New York State are a political appointment. It always has been and always will be. It is the only position that ethically remains political throughout New York State.

The history of Board of Elections Commissioners in Sullivan County has been well established and documented.

The Sullivan County Legislature does not run the Board of Elections the same way they run and have jurisdiction over other departments like DPW, Public Safety, Health and Family Services.

In reality – all legislators do is follow the New York State mandated rules for the Board of Elections and pass line items required in the budget to run the Board of Elections. If they want to change the rules they would need to change New York State Election Law.

Mrs. Schick should have met with the Democratic Legislative Caucus and demanded they vote for and support the choice of the Democratic Committee whether they liked the selection or not. You can guarantee that former Sullivan County Democratic Chairs Robert Krutman, Timothy Hill, Jim Grier, Steve Wilkinson, and Darryl Kaplan would have done just that.

It should be noted that Schick dd not attend the meeting on Friday.

Rajsz informed me that since taking office – Although a Democrat – She has never been invited to a caucus with Democratic members of the legislature.

Come next January, the legislature will be voting for both the Democratic and Republican Board of Election Commissioners.

If you recall, Laurie Benjamin was appointed to fill the Republican Board of Elections Commissioner term after the untimely passing Rodney Gaebel.

Some see the battle over Edwards’ confirmation as a beach head in a much bigger war that is being waged – The war over who actually controls the Legislature.

District One Legislator Scott Samuelson, who chaired the last incarnation of the body, and a dysfunctional one at that, made no bones about the fact that he aspired to remain Chairman when this new body was organized.

Samuelson attempted to make deal after deal in order to do so, and even after he was rejected by his new colleagues in that quest he has continued to try to exert his influence.

By standing on principle and supporting the duly nominated choice of the Democratic Committee, not only did Luis Alvarez emerge from this latest political scuffle on the winning side, he also established himself as a true leader and convinced many that he was indeed the right person for the job of Legislature Chairman. That bodes well for all the residents of Sullivan County.

If the way those who voted against Edwards stormed out of the room after the vote was tallied is any indication, they are not only ineffective leaders, but are very sore losers.

In fact, one legislator refused to shake Edwards’ hand as she thanked all legislators on her appointment.
Luis Alvarez has shown he is more than capable of leading this Legislature and Sullivan County going forward. Republican or Democrat – that is good news for all of us.

There is a lot of important business this legislature needs to conduct – And it is time that they get busy on the important issues – such as economic development – making Sullivan County an affordable place to live – and turning us into a healthy community.

This ignominy over a Board of Elections Commissioner appointment was uncalled for and unnecessary.

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in the Sullivan County Post and on facebook in the group Sullivan County Post

1 comment to Fiasco Over Board of Elections Commissioner – Alvarez Saves the Day

  • john beasley

    As usual Bill. An accurate and insightful report that gives a measure of understanding to those who want it.