Democrats Divided On Process Appointing Next Election Commissioner

Image via Chautauqua County Government / Zoom.

MAYVILLE – Several Democrats in Chautauqua County are calling out the process to appoint the next Democratic Election Commissioner.

This after the vote on the recommendation of Luz Torres for the job was withdrawn Wednesday night.

Former Jamestown City Council President Greg Rabb, who served in his role as President for 10 years, spoke out against the way in which Torres, the Deputy Democrat Election Commissioner, was appointed as the replacement for current Commissioner Norm Green.

Rabb commented during a Privilege of the Floor Session during the Chautauqua County Legislature meeting Wednesday evening minutes after it was announced that a resolution confirming the appointment of Torres was removed from the Legislative agenda.

Rabb says the appointment wasn’t conducted correctly.

“What I’ve been watching this process as it unfolded, and you all heard comments from various individuals about how deeply flawed the process is, it pains me to watch my Democratic not be small ‘D’ Democratic,” Rabb said. “It’s wrong. It wasn’t done properly.”

Rabb says that he and others are not against the appointment of Torres because she is a minority female. The former President says that the process is “grossly un-Democratic.”

“This is about a process that’s not just flawed, as some of my friends have pointed out, but it’s grossly un-Democratic,” Rabb said. “I, too, applaud the Committee for pulling this resolution off the floor in the hopes that we can come to a Democratic solution to a process that, up this point, has been anything but Democratic.”

Marsha Johnson, the Fredonia-Pomfret Democrat Chair, says that the process was fair, adding that everyone, including candidates who also spoke out publicly against the process, agreed to the structure of the Commissioner election.

“Not one person said there was a problem with the process,” Johnson said. “Not one of them. When they had the meeting to decide the process, they had input, and they agreed to it. The election was held, ballots were sent out in the mail due to COVID, and they agreed to get together and do a Zoom meeting, which was open to anybody in the whole Country to watch, so even though they feel there wasn’t a quorum in the room, there definitely was a quorum of people watching.”

Several opponents of the appointment claimed that the election bylaws of the County Democrats were changed in 2018, an allegation that Johnson refuted. Johnson says that Torres is qualified for the position based on her work as Deputy Commissioner.

Torres was recommended for the position by the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee earlier this month. The Legislature’s Administrative Services Committee previously approved a resolution allowing the appointment to be voted on, which was tabled on Wednesday night.

The term for the next Commission would start on Jan. 1 and last four years.


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