ALBANY – A judge on Monday ordered Democratic Party Chairman Jack Flynn to file a certificate with the legislature certifying that Matt Clyne was duly recommended for a four-year term as commissioner at the Board of Elections.
In September, shortly after the committee ousted Carolyn McLaughlin as chair and replaced her with Flynn, there was a motion to table a resolution recommending Clyne’s appointment.
That motion failed and Clyne was overwhelmingly recommended.
However, some two months later, Flynn attempted to call another meeting of the entire committee to again vote on a BOE commissioner. His pick was longtime attorney Josh Ehrlich.
Clyne took it to court, and Judge Denise Hartman ruled Flynn must file the proper paperwork within three days because, in part, it is his duty as chair (see the decision below.) If he wanted to object to the vote, the judge ruled, Flynn should have done it within the 10-day statute of limitations.
“Neither he nor anyone else did so, and the 10-day statute of limitations has long since run,” Hartman wrote. “Absent judicial invalidation of the vote, he was required to perform his ministerial duty and file the certificate of party recommendation …
“To allow, at this late date, Mr. Flynn to declare the recommendation vote void would invite mischief and throw into doubt the finality of committee votes. If respondent’s assertion that the recommendation vote was void from its inception were correct, he and the committee could revisit any unweighted voted, without regard to the limitations period of Election Law no matter how distant in time. Such a result would be antiethical to the public policy favoring finality in these matters.”
Furthermore, the judge wrote, Flynn “waived his objections” by presiding over and participating in the first vote without raising any objection “either formally or informally.”
Flynn could not immediately be reached for comment and it is unclear if he will appeal or if he has any other legal recourse to Hartman’s ruling.
The day after Flynn, a councilman from Ward 8, tried to table the vote on the BOE commissioner, Clyne fired him from his $48,500 job at the BOE. Clyne replaced Flynn with Judd Krasher, a councilman from Ward 11 and vocal critic of Mayor Kathy Sheehan. Krasher also was the campaign manager for Dan Egan when he ran against County Executive Dan McCoy. He also supports Councilman Frank Commisso Jr. in his yet to be announced bid to take on Shehan next year.
The move to replace Clyne was widely seen as a way to get a steadfast ally of McCoy and Sheehan in the spot, or in the least to get someone friendlier to their cause than Clyne.
Barring any further legal action by Flynn, the legislature will formally appoint Clyne to a four-year term. The term shifted from two to four years with a referendum passed by voters in November.
“A judge has now ordered Jack Flynn, chairman of the Albany County Democratic Committee, to perform his duty and file a Certificate of Party Recommendation of Matt Clyne as Democratic Commissioner of Elections,” said Albany County Legislature Majority Leader Frank Commisso. “I ask the party chairman to deliver the certificate for Matt Clyne to the clerk of the Albany County Legislature as expeditiously as possible.”
The body’s chairman, Sean Ward, said he expects to vote on the appointment at a meeting on Monday, Dec. 19.