Friday, January 8, 2010

Community Decision

On Wednesday, Penfield's Town Board filled a vacancy among its members by appointing Robert Quinn to serve on the Board until the next election.

A former Congressional staffer, Quinn brings a unique experience on that basis alone.   He has served on the Town's Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.   He's served on the Monroe County's Parks Advisory Committee.

Quinn's also a Republican, like the Supervisor and the other members of the Town Board.   No great surprise there.   The one-party Democratic City Council appoints Democrats to vacancies.   So does the all-Democratic Brighton Town Board.   Speaker Sheldon Silver didn’t pick a Republican for State Comptroller.   Governor Paterson didn’t pick a Republican for U.S. Senate.   And nobody really expects otherwise.   Or almost nobody.

Democrats in Monroe County often operate under the principle, "what's ours is ours; what's yours is up for grabs."   Appointments for Democratic-controlled entities to make are decisions for them and them alone.   Appointments to be made by Republican-controlled bodies are a different story.

We wrote recently about Democrats' attempt two years ago to hijack appointment of the Public Defender.   And heaven forbid that a Republican County government that creates and pays for a community college should have a say in choosing its president.

When Republican bodies have an appointment to make, we're told these must be bipartisan decisions.   Community decisions.   (A term whose meaning is always fuzzy, but the idea is that Republicans don't get to choose).  

But here's a community decision that's very clear:   two months ago, Penfield voters decisively rejected the Town Democratic Leader, Margaret Trevett, as candidate for Supervisor.   They also rejected independent candidate Steve Nazarian.   Trevett was held to 35% of the vote -- basically the core Democratic vote.   Nazarian got 15%.

So Ms. Trevettt and Mr. Nazarian share a unique distinction.   They're among the handful of Penfield residents whom the Town's voters have formally rejected for public office.   In their case, decisively.

And who do you suppose applied for the Town Board vacancy?   Then ran off complaining to the press when they didn't get it?

Ms. Trevett groused to the newspaper after failing to get the appointment:   "It's very sad, because he's got no other experience except working for a politician."   A mean-spirited denigration of Quinn's congressional experience  --  which is more relevant experience than Trevett offered.

Nazarian called the interview process "a charade" and "insincere."   Yet he took it seriously enough at the time, contacting a former Council member to solicit support and to lobby current members.

Whatever the political makeup of a Town Council, you wouldn't think it would look for the very people voters rejected, especially recently and especially by big margins, and appoint them.

Of course there are some gaps in new Councilman Quinn's experience.   He's never run a campaign as nasty and negative as Trevett's campaign for Supervisor last Fall.

And he's never embarrassed himself before the whole community, as a candidate for Supervisor who doesn't know when the Town budget comes to a vote.   Remember this?   --

Looks like Penfield's made some good community decisions lately.

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