SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The city Democratic Committee on Tuesday formally endorsed June primary winner Patty Morrison for city finance commissioner, and also approve a resolution endorsing the "MeToo" movement.
The committee also chose, again, not to endorse public safety commissioner candidate Kendall Hicks, who has been dogged by questions about a 2013 arrest in Gloversville for allegedly assaulting a woman. Hicks was arrested on charges of third-degree assault and reckless endangerment, according to a city police report, but the charges were dismissed in court.
Recently elected city Democratic Committee Chairwoman Sarah J. Burger wouldn't comment on the reasons for not endorsing Hicks, who was also denied the committee endorsement last spring when it had different leadership. But Burger did emphasize the committee's strong support for the "MeToo" movement, which supports women who are victims of sexual or domestic assault.
“What we decided as a committee is that because of the nature of the situation, I was advised to not discuss it," Burger said on Thursday. "I have to be very careful wording, but we did not endorse anyone in the public safety race.”
Despite not having the committee endorsement, Hicks will have the Democratic ballot line in November because he circulated Democratic nominating petitions last spring.
Hicks has sought to minimize the charges, noting that the charges were dismissed. He said he was also cleared in a separate military review. Hicks did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
The "MeToo" resolution, which was supported by all endorsed candidates, declared that survivors
of sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence should be heard and respected, condemned sexual harassment, sexual abuse and domestic violence and demands that perpetrators be held accountable.
“I think we’re making a very loud statement, and one we have not made before," Burger said. “What I wanted us to do is get behind this, and all our candidates got behind it. I view as a very broad issue that affects a lot of people.”
Hicks, 48, a retired Army veteran, will be facing Republican Robin Dalton in November. The current public safety commissioner, Democrat Peter Martin, is retiring.
The public safety commissioner oversees the Police and Fire departments, code enforcement, animal control and parking enforcement.
In the finance commissioner race, the committee in the spring endorsed incumbent Democrat Michelle Madigan for re-election. However, Morrison challenged and defeated Madigan in a June 25 Democratic primary, and many of the people then leading the Democratic Party in the city resigned so they could continue to support Madigan publicly. Madigan is continuing to seek re-election on the Independence and Working Parties ballot lines; there is no Republican running.
Burger said the switch of the committee endorsement wasn't necessarily a foregone conclusion, despite the primary's outcome. The endorsement allows the committee to devote party resources to try to get Morrison elected.
The committee's other endorsements are incumbent Commissioner of Accounts John Franck, incumbent Mayor Meg Kelly; Dillon Moran, who is challenging the incumbent Republican public works commissioner, Anthony "Skip" Scirocco; and incumbent Tara Gaston for one of two seats representing the city on the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors.