Tuesday is election day for school districts, and of course the district I will have my eye on is Schenectady, which is trying to recover from the Steve Raucci scandal.
Nine candidates are contending for four seats, and though the candidates are by no means equal, not one of them claims alliance with the outgoing godfather, Jeff Janiszewski, and not one of them defends the superintendent, Eric Ely.
They all agree, at least tacitly, that Ely has got to go, and they are all at pains to disassociate themselves from Janiszewski’s secretive way of doing business.
So it seems certain that Schenectady will soon see a new and brighter day, and the main question, in the short term, will be whether a new board will have the backbone to bring Ely up on charges and fire him, per his contract, or whether its members will dither in closed-door meetings in search of some less drastic way of getting rid of him, perhaps by buying him out.
I did check to see who Janiszewski and his sidekicks might be supporting, and I can report that they are circumspect enough, or chastened enough, not to be supporting anybody, at least not through the visible means of lawn signs.
I checked the fronts of the houses belonging to Warren Snyder, Janiszewski’s old partner in school board secrecy; Michael Campon, Janiszewski’s ally in CSEA; and Janiszewski himself, and there were no signs at all.
Very interesting. If they figure their support would only be a kiss of death, they figure what I figure.
Myself, I endorse no candidates, and my acquaintance with most of the nine contenders is too brief and too fleeting for me even to have much confidence in my impressions.
The only candidate I have known for a long time, since she served on the Schenectady City Council, is Cathy Lewis, in whose ability and honesty I have complete confidence.
In this I am unlike CSEA, which endorsed Maxine Brisport, the current board president running for reelection, and Andrew Chestnut, a newcomer.
Given CSEA’s tainted history in l’affaire Raucci, I don’t know why they didn’t just keep quiet. Their endorsement is worth about as much as Janiszewski’s would be, as far as I’m concerned.
I noted about 10 days ago that Schenectady County was advertising for a director of emergency management and that the requirements for the job — education plus relevant experience — could be overridden if the applicant offered, instead, 20 years of law enforcement experience. Which of course suggested to me they were trying to accommodate a retired cop.
And sure enough. The guy they hired was Mark LaViolette, recently retired Schenectady city cop and former vice president of the city police union, the PBA. Thus continues the love affair between county Democrats and the Conservative Party, in which cops, including LaViolette, play a major role.
Earlier the Democrats held the sheriff’s job open until their choice to fill it, Rotterdam cop Dom Dagostino, a registered Conservative, could get in his 20 years and retire. Now if they will combine the emergency management office with the sheriff’s department, they will have their PBA/Conservative friends under one convenient roof.
Regular readers will remember that LaViolette was the cop who for a period of about eight years voted in Schenectady, using his parents’ address, thereby keeping a hand in city Conservative politics, even though he lived in Scotia.
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