ALBANY – After a good amount of controversy, the county legislature formally appointed Matt Clyne to a four-year term as Board of Elections Commissioner, on Monday, Dec. 20.
“The result speaks for itself,” Majority Leader Frank Commisso said in a statement. “In voting to support Matthew Clyne, the Democratic majority backed an extremely qualified and experienced attorney for elections commissioner. We also listened to the recommendation of the full Albany County Democratic Committee. We respected the committee’s wishes that were made clear in a vote on Sept. 29.”
The legislators opted to take Clyne’s vote in caucus rather than on the floor and his appointment passed 17-11.
The vote ends a months-long, drama-filled battle between two factions of the Albany County Democratic Party.
In September, the same night the committee ousted Chairwoman Carolyn McLaughlin and replaced her with Jack Flynn, a motion was made to table the vote on whether or not to recommend Clyne’s re-appointment.
That motion failed, and the next day Clyne fired Flynn from his $48,500 post at the board. Before the legislature formally appointed Clyne, however, Flynn tried to re-open the process and asked anyone interested in the position to send him a resume. He hired Councilman Judd Krasher, a vocal critic of Mayor Kathy Sheehan and County Executive Dan McCoy, to replace Flynn
Clyne took it to court, a judge sided with him and the recommendation went to the legislature. Despite some pressure put on some lawmakers to vote against Clyne, his appointment passed by a comfortable margin.
Those joining Commisso Sr. in voting for Clyne were Legislators: Chair Sean Ward, Gil Ethier, Ralph Signoracci, Wanda Willingham, Norma Chapman, William Clay, Denis Feeney, Sam Fein, David Mayo, Michael Mackey, Bryan Clenahan, Robert Beston, Alison McLean-Lane, Paul Miller, Ralph Signoracci and Richard Touchette.
Those against the reappointment were Legislators: Merton Simpson, Raymond Joyce, Andrew Joyce, Gary Domalewicz, Chris Higgins, Joanne Cunningham, Douglas Bullock, Joseph O’Brien, William Reinhardt, Lynn Lekakis and Charles Dawson Jr.
The battle is widely seen as an attempt by McCoy and Sheehan to get someone more friendly to their side of the fence heading into next year’s mayoral race when Councilman Frank Commisso Jr. is likely to run a primary against the mayor.