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The Telegram
  • Herkimer Co. appoints new Democratic election commissioner

  • The Herkimer County Legislature Wednesday evening confirmed the appointment of Audrey Dunning as the county’s new Democratic election commissioner.

    The vote to appoint Dunning was 11 to 5, with one legislator absent.

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  • The Herkimer County Legislature Wednesday evening confirmed the appointment of Audrey Dunning as the county’s new Democratic election commissioner.
    The vote to appoint Dunning was 11 to 5, with one legislator absent.
    The Ilion resident will replace current Democratic Election Commissioner Shelly Pazzanese, of Little Falls, who was appointed to the position in 2009. Pazzanese’s term will end on Dec. 31.
    Legislator Raymond Smith was among the lawmakers who cast a no vote, and qualified his vote by saying he felt politics should not be interjected into the routine of selecting an commissioner. He added he felt Pazzanese was being “dismissed without cause and replaced for political reasons.”
    “I am troubled by this,” said Smith, R - Dolgeville. “The current commissioner has been very helpful, was well informed and always conducted herself professionally. I only hope the new election commissioner will follow in her footsteps and will serve all residents of Herkimer County in an equally courteous and professional manner, regardless of what their political party affiliation is.”
    Legislator Gary Hartman, D - Herkimer, said election commissioner is a political position.
    “It is not uncommon for commissioners to have prominent roles in their parties. Many counties have party chairs serving as election commissioner,” he said. “The recommendations of who to appoint to the position come directly from the Democratic and Republican committees. This is nothing new.”
    Hartman said to vote Dunning’s appointment down would have made the legislature “look a little silly” to the public, and added he was sure she would do a more than satisfactory job.
    Legislator Helen Rose, D - Herkimer, commended Pazzanese for doing a good job as election commissioner and said Dunning will “hit the ground running” when she takes office on Jan. 1, 2013.
    “The Democratic committee looks at this appointment as an opportunity to begin a new term with a new election commissioner,” she said, adding Dunning’s term will expire on Dec. 31, 2014.
    Rose added during a committee meeting concerning the appointment some legislators called Dunning’s character into question. “They are perceiving conflicts where they don’t exist,” she said.
    Also during Wednesday’s special session, the legislature voted to reappoint Republican Election Commissioner Kathleen Farber. The Little Falls resident’s term will be from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2014. The vote to reappoint Farber as election commissioner was unanimous.

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