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County Executive responds to Elections Commissioner's claim of 'political harassment'

By JOLEEN FERRIS

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Oneida County Republican Election Commissioner says the county Republican Chairman's recent call for her resignation is tantamount to 'political harassment,' pointing out that the statement making the request was sent from a member of the Oneida County Executive's staff.

"The law explicitly establishes the Board of Elections as an autonomous entity precisely to preclude any elected individual from placing or attempting to place undue influence, in any manner, upon the Board of Elections and thus the election process," says Oneida County Republican Election Commissioner Pamela Mandryck, who says she's received much support from the NYS Board of Elections, local officials, party committee members and voters and will therefore not be stepping down.

County Executive Anthony Picente points out that the staff member is an active member of the party and, as such, frequently sends communications on its members' behalf on his own time, from his own e-mail. Picente also says that the 'autonomous' status Commissioner Mandryck speaks of is not a blanket license to subvert county rules and procedures.

"The autonomous nature of the office that the commissioner so boldly represents does not allow the commissioner to subvert county policy, procedures, purchasing rules, hiring rules, payroll rules," says Picente.

Picente says that, while County Republican Chair George Mitchell may agree with his position that the board of elections needs overhaul at the management level, he did not in any way request that Mitchell call for Mandryck's resignation. Picente says it's no secret that he wants the entire board audited. In fact, requests for proposals to outside auditors went out in Wednesday's Observer Dispatch.

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