Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave ...

After a while at this, you develop a sixth sense.

Our antennae quivered when we read the D&C editorial the other day referring to "Mayor " Tom Richards.

Wow, we thought, they're really pushing it.   He's not Mayor yet, just acting Mayor.   That's why the City Charter requires either a special election or an appointment by City Council -- to fill the vacancy in the office of Mayor!   The vacancy that exists until one of those two things happens.

If the Deputy Mayor succeeded automatically to the Mayorship in the event of a vacancy -- like the Vice President to the office of President -- there'd be no need for a special election, an appointment, or any other mechanism to fill the office of Mayor -- because the office already would be filled.

Today the newspaper discloses that the difference in status is crucial to whether a federal law, the Hatch Act, allows Richards to run for Mayor or not.   If he already holds the office of Mayor, he can run.   If not, he can't.

This explains the D&C editorialists pushing the "Mayor" bit the other day.   From the outset they've been eager collaborators in the plan to install Richards as Mayor without a meaningful election.

Two critical points to be made here:

1.     From the beginning, no one has had a clearer understanding of the Hatch Act problem than Tom Richards himself.   A former Corporation Counsel and one time partner of the Nixon Peabody law firm, he knows the law.   This explains why, according to the newspaper report:
Richards' title has been a sensitive subject for City Hall, which began referring to him as "Mayor Richards" following a New Year's Day swearing-in ceremony that was closed to the public.
(Is there anything about Richards getting this job that isn't "closed to the public?")

2.     The fix is already in.   Richards will be cleared to run for Mayor.   Forget the very plain language of the Charter, or the opinion of the local government professor from SUNY - Albany who says Richards is now Acting Mayor.

Well before today's story ran, it has to be a certainty that Joe Morelle was on the phone with one of the two U.S. Senators or someone else in Washington, to arrange for the "right" opinion from the Office of Special Counsel in D.C. that decides these things.

The fix already is in.   That's how these things work.

Tom Richards may be new to politics, but he's adapted quickly to the culture of political sleaze.

Imagine -- just imagine -- the media hue and cry if it were a Republican County administration trying to get away with this stuff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Imagine -- just imagine -- the media hue and cry if it were a Republican County administration trying to get away with this stuff."

Ahhh, but whatever Democrats do is pure of heart, whereas Republicans are evil. Thus the difference when the same misdeed is done. The media know when its done by a Democrat they must mean well by it.