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Albany County Leaders Blast County Board Of Election Heads

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy at the podium outside the DMV on South Pearl Street, Albany.

Several members of the Albany County Legislature gathered with civic leaders Monday in Albany's South End following controversial remarks by a Board of Elections official about the community.

"What happened to us about a few days ago as that a high official of the election board belittled the South End, where a majority or a good portion of people of color are located. And so, I as chair of the Albany County Black Legislative Caucus, I call upon her and you know who her is to resign."

That's William Clay.

His call for a resignation was echoed by other leaders including Albany County Legislature Deputy Chair Wanda Willingham at the gathering outside the South Pearl Street Department of Motor Vehicles office building. Owned by the county, it’s under consideration to become the new home of the Albany County Board of Elections when the DMV moves.

"Her" is a reference to Republican BOE Commissioner Rachel Bledi, who last week told the Times Union the new location was in a 'bad, dangerous neighborhood.'" Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said the people of the South End deserve an apology.  "I'm calling for the Republican and Democrat to at least apologize, if not resign. At least come out and say 'lookit, I made a bad, you know, I put out a bad statement, I should have looked at the data,’ because when the crime data came out, and we showed it to people, the South End crime rate is lower than that of the current BOE on Russell Road."

McCoy said Democratic BOE Commissioner Matt Clyne should also be faulted for remaining silent on the matter.  "I'm not surprised at hearing this from a Republican Commissioner. What I'm surprised at is you have a Democratic Commissioner who sittin' there silent. I know the T-U reported Amanda tried to get a statement, sat outside his office for hours, and he had no comment. To sit there silently, at a time in this nation and agree with the Republicans, he's just as guilty."

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan:   "I would welcome the opportunity to work in the South End. This would be a wonderful place to come very day, day in and day out, to see what's happening here. To get to know and understand the people who live here."

The Albany County Board of Elections could not be reached for comment.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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