PLATTSBURGH — Almost two months after the election, the race for two seats on the Plattsburgh Town Council remains up in the air.
There are 21 absentee ballots still to be counted that are the subject of a legal challenge.
At present, the Clinton County Board of Elections reports that Republican Tom Metz has 1,240 votes, followed by Republican William Brudvig with 1,239, Democrat Michael Cashman with 1,229 and Democrat Paul Lamoy with 1,142.
County Democratic Chairman Martin Mannix said the most recent hearing before New York State Supreme Court Justice John T. Ellis took place on Dec. 20. Nine people who filed absentee ballots and were scheduled to appear did not do so.
That hearing ended with Ellis’s request that the attorneys in the case submit briefs on who was responsible to notify those who filed the disputed ballots about appearing in court.
The judge can then either make a ruling on the ballots or set a date for another hearing.
“The judge has been very fair in his rulings and treatment of people in the courtroom,” Mannix said.
Local attorney Richard Cantwell filed Metz v. Castine, Campbell and (Clinton County) Board of Elections on Nov. 21, challenging 36 absentee ballots, most on whether statements on those ballots and their applications were truthful and whether applicable statutes were followed.
A motion to dismiss, based on a failure to include all candidates in the election, was shot down Nov. 27.
The suit was re-filed with Metz and Brudvig as petitioners and Cashman, Lamoy, the Clinton County Board of Elections and Board of Elections Commissioners Gregory Campbell and Susan Castine as respondents.
At present, James Walsh is representing the petitioners, and Kathleen O’Keefe is representing the respondents.
Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said that if the results are not official by the Town Council meeting set for Jan. 6, New York State Public Officers Law would allow the incumbents to continue to serve until a final decision is made. The only requirement is they state that they are willing to continue.
At the most recent Town Council session, incumbents Gerard Renadette and Lamoy both indicated that they are willing to do so.
“I would be honored to continue to serve,” Renadette said.
“I chose to serve the public when I ran for office,” Lamoy said, “and I will continue to serve as needed.”
NOT REPUBLICAN NOW
Renadette later told the Press-Republican that he is dropping his affiliation with the Republican Party and will run as an independent candidate if he seeks election in the future.
While his ideals and beliefs have always leaned toward the Republican platform, he said, he has come to believe all elected officials should work for all constituents.
“I’ve always felt I was there to serve the entire populace,” Renadette said.
Email Dan Heath at:email@example.com