Schenectady County

Following court loss, GOP endorses new slate in Rotterdam town races

Former Rotterdam Republican Committee Chairman Gerard Parisi won his court battle to invalidate his

Former Rotterdam Republican Committee Chairman Gerard Parisi won his court battle to invalidate his party’s endorsements, but GOP leaders went ahead and ratified a very similar slate of candidates Monday.

Schenectady County Supreme Court Judge Vincent Reilly ruled that the committee failed to send Parisi notice of the meeting in the requisite five days. The notice was mailed five days before April’s endorsement meeting, but Parisi didn’t receive it until three days before the advertised date.

“Under the town committee by-laws, this was insufficient notice,” he wrote in the May 31 ruling received by Parisi over the weekend.

But the Republicans didn’t wait long to hammer out a new slate that has nearly all of the same candidates.

The town’s committee met briefly Monday evening to name Joe Villano and Stan Marchinkowski as the respective replacements for Town Board candidate Aurelia Lazzari and county Legislature nominee Nicola DiLeva, after both women decided against running.

Afterward, the county Republican Committee endorsed the slate. Town Committee Chairwoman Tracy Donovan said the county committee is ultimately tasked with ratifying the town’s choices, meaning the vote should stand as legitimate.

“Despite the lawsuit we went through the proper steps,” she said after the meeting.

Parisi, who served on the Town Board last year and was a former town attorney for Rotterdam, filed a lawsuit in late April. The challenge claimed that at least five of the 27 votes needed to adopt the endorsements came from people who were not on the committee.

In addition, at least one of the nine proxy votes was submitted by someone not on the committee, Parisi claimed in his lawsuit. He also faulted the committee for failing to alert its members of the meeting with the requisite five days’ notice.

During its April endorsement meeting, the town committee backed a slate of candidates that included some affiliated with the No New Tax Party, an independent line some fault for the Republicans’ heavy losses during the 2009 election. Brian McGarry, the Republicans’ endorsed candidate for town supervisor this year, was criticized for being a spoiler when he challenged incumbent Steve Tommasone in 2009.

McGarry was endorsed by 26 committee members, with nine submitting their votes via proxy. Also endorsed were Chris Tomaselli and Lazzari for the two Town Board seats.

Highway Superintendent James Longo and Justice Kevin Mercoglin, both incumbents, also received endorsements. The committee named Wade Abbott and DiLeva as their choices for the town’s two seats on the county Legislature, but deferred to the county Republicans to make the final determination on those endorsements.

In an e-mail Monday, Parisi expressed satisfaction with the lawsuit’s outcome, but dismay over the county’s decision to endorse a slate of candidates for the town. He said the “highly irregular” move means committee members from other towns were endorsing Rotterdam’s candidates.

“The town GOP should do what has always been done — call a proper meeting and obtain a majority of the Rotterdam committee to endorse a Rotterdam candidate,” he said. “It appears someone or the candidates are trying to avoid the normal process at all costs and pretend they are endorsed Republicans when they are not.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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