Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse struck back Monday afternoon against those calling for his resignation, and followed up hours later at a special Common Council meeting.
Morse, who is facing allegations of domestic abuse published in the Times Union newspaper, said at City Hall Monday afternoon that he will not step aside, as Albany County Democrats and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have called on him to do. The first-term Democrat denied all allegations, telling reporters he is a broken man.
He later showed up at a special session of the Common Council. "I don't know what else I can do. I don't know what else I can say. This is politics. Politics is dirty and people want to beat you when you're down. I will tell you this right now, I was born and raised in the projects, I'm an Irish Catholic, I ain't down, I ain't on my knees, I ain't resigning," said Morse.
During a public comment period, most residents spoke on the mayor's behalf. Supporters vastly outnumbered those who want him ousted. "…he's probably the only mayor that I remember in Cohoes to do what he has done for our community."
"...and let Shawn worry about Cohoes, Andrew Cuomo worry about what's going on in Buffalo, how's that?"
"The only thing that I could remotely support would be for him for a period of time to possibly step aside to focus on his personal matters, because it sounds like there's a lot of them that might need his attention."
Council President Christopher Briggs says the meeting was held for purposes of discussion only as the panel doesn’t have the power to remove the mayor. "I think we had a very very spirited discussion, maybe more than I've been around in the two and half years so I haven't been around all that long on the council. But I think it was a productive meeting."
That perspective was not necessarily shared by Councilman Randy Koniowka, who has announced he'll run for mayor next year.
"We can't live in a fantasy world in this city. You have the governor, you have almost every county official, you have state senators, you have our assembly... you have... are all these people delusional? Or is one person delusional? You know my assumption is we have one person who is delusional, who believes his own lies," said Koniowka.
Morse insists he is capable of running the city and convinced some council members he can, despite mounting pressure from Democrats statewide to step down.