The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Friday, August 03, 2007


Court of Claims Judge Henry Zwack has been assigned to hear a Supreme Court challenge to the revised Democratic Party bylaws. County Chairman Wade has asked Zwack to recuse himself from the case because Wade testified for the prosecution at Zwack's 2002 corruption trial.

Attorney Josh Ehrlich represents those challenging the new bylaws. The challenge to the bylaws centers on whether enough notice was given prior to the Committee's June 11 meeting where the bylaws were passed and whether or not proposed amendments to the proposed bylaws could be adopted at that meeting. But notice isn't the only issue for some:

One town party chairman, Jeffrey Spain of North Greenbush, said the new bylaws will "centralize power" in the hands of County Chair Thomas W. Wade and should be thrown out because they were not properly adopted, according to court documents.

An actual analysis of the changes shows Spain's concerns to be unwarranted. If those are the actual concerns.

The revised bylaws do give the County Chair authority to call a town caucus if the town chair refuses to cauc. Notice of such a caucus will also be more informal, including smoke signals and signal flags. Town party members still choose the candidate(s). So, what's the problem? The changes targeted chairs such as Tim Nugent (Schodack) who do not run candidates for a variety of reasons. Other than Schodack, the only other town to voice opposition to the proposed changes was....North Greenbush. At the June 11 meeting, Town Clerk Katie Connolly took the lead in opposing the changes.

Since Wade could call a new meeting, with plenty of notice, and have the bylaws passed, this suit is more about this upcoming election than notice issues or concentrating power in the hands of the County Chair. In fact, the revised bylaws also give the Executive Committee greater authority to take action against the County Chair if the chair isn't doing his or her job. Again, that's not the issue.

The issue is that for far to long town chairs have been in bed with the opposition or have refused to run Democratic candidates because they, or family members, are on the GOP payroll in some form or another.

An interesting side note. Attorney Ehrlich was Spain's advisor in the ill-fated attempt by Spain to oust former North Greenbush Chair Dan Ashley and Charlie Smith from the County Committee. Prior to that, Smith has made a complaint about Ehrlich to the Committee on Professional Standards. Such a move really ups the ante in this game. It's one thing to endanger someones public sector job. That comes with the territory. Endangering someones professional career....that really raises the stakes.

In any event, Judge Zwack declined to recuse himself from the case. Should Zwack recuse himself? Probably. Given the recent track record of area judges (Bauer, Spargo, Doyle) you'd think Zwack would be extra, super careful. Of course Zwack owes his current job, and therefore pension, to Joe Bruno. Bruno is heavily involved in North Greenbush politics this year.....

Peeling back the layers of this onion is a smelly business.

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