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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Let people, not party, pick council replacement

Let people, not party, pick council replacement

Advantages of incumbency nearly insurmountable, thus unfair

Schenectady’s City Council has a long history of appointing replacements for members who resign in mid-term, so why should Ed Kosiur, endorsed over the weekend by the city’s Democratic Committee to take Denise Brucker’s seat, be any different?

There are several reasons, actually, and one is that it happens this way all too often in Schenectady. For example, among current council members, Marion Porterfield, Peggy King and Carl Erikson were all initially appointed. So was Denise Brucker, who Kosiur would replace. Kosiur was himself a previous appointee, from his first council go-round 12 years ago.

What’s wrong with appointments, among other things, is that they allow the appointee to run as an incumbent when their partial term is up — which provides a big advantage over any challenger. They also tend to make appointees beholden to the party that appoints them, which is OK if you like perpetual one-party rule.

In this particular case, Kosiur was elected to a three-year school board term just nine months ago. It seems rather cavalier of him to walk away from that commitment so easily (he can’t do both jobs).

We prefer letting the seat stay vacant until November. Yes, a six-member council (essentially the status quo during the last 16 months of Barbara Blanchard’s term) does make it tougher for the majority party to assert total control, but that’s hardly a bad thing.

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