The Rockland County Legislature voted 15-1, with one legislator absent, in favor of County Democratic Committee Chair Kristen Stavisky’s nomination for Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner.
“She’s always been a hard worker for the Democratic Party, and she has been very impartial in everything she has done,” said Legislator Philip Soskin, chair of Multi-Services Committee, which first looked at Stavisky’s nomination.
The state set up the board of elections as a bipartisan entity with one Democratic and one Republican commissioner, although after Stavisky’s nomination, some questioned whether the chair of one of the parties should be allowed to hold the position as a Board of Elections commissioner.
“I think that the nomination is not a good idea,” said Legislator Joseph Meyers, the only legislator to vote against the nomination. “It’s tarred by two things. It’s tarred by the process and by conflict of interest.”
In regards to process, Meyers said there was a last minute meeting set up for a recent Monday at 5:30 p.m. amongst the Democratic Party, a time when the party never holds general meetings. He said it seemed political to hold the meeting then.
“It doesn’t make our county government look that good and it doesn’t make the Democratic Party in Rockland County look that good that we’re having this sort of conflict of interest, this sort of favoritism,” he said.
Still, Stavisky received compliments from many legislators at Tuesday’s meeting, including Legislator Frank Sparaco, the legislature’s Republican minority leader. Part of Sparaco’s praise came from experience when he ran for state assembly against Stavisky’s brother, Ken Zebrowski, two years ago.
“I ran against her brother, and therefore ran against her, and if I was a Democrat, there wouldn’t be anybody other than her that I would want in that job,” Sparaco said. “She knows what she’s doing. She wasn’t fun to run against.”
Sparaco added that he doesn’t feel there’s a conflict of interest in Stavisky holding both positions.
“There’s a reason there’s a Republican commissioner, there’s a reason there’s a Democratic commissioner,” he said.
“That is the system that we built, which is as American as apple pie. That’s the way it is. Nobody wants to talk about that. They want to pretend otherwise, but the truth of the matter is, the Board of Elections is for political appointed positions that will help build the party,” said Sparaco.