Oneida County GOP Chairman calls for Elections Commissioner's resignation

By WKTV News

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. - The Oneida County Republican Party Chairman, George Mitchell, has called for Republican Oneida County Board of Elections Commissioner Pamela Mandryck to step down from her post.

"I am asking Commissioner Mandryck to step aside for the best interests of the Republican Party, a party she has served as both a legislator and commissioner with great dedication," said Mitchell. "Despite the many years in which she has worked on behalf of the party and its precepts, we now find ourselves in a situation where issues within the board are causing concerns that can best be addressed through a change in leadership. It is with both my deep respect for her work in the past and my commitment to the best interests of the Oneida County Republican Party as we look to the future that I must take this step. As we gear up for a very important election cycle, it is essential that all candidates and Republican Party Committee members have the utmost confidence in Oneida County's Republican Election Commissioner. Regrettably, that is not the case today, and I call upon Commissioner Mandryck to take this very difficult but necessary step for the greater good of our party and our community."

Oneida County Election Commissioners are nominated by the respective County Democratic and Republican committees. Their nominations are ratified by the Board of Legislators. Mandryck has held the position of Republican Election Commissioner since 2009. Mandryck's term is up at the end of 2012.

Mandryck responded to Mitchell's by stating that such a request is tantamount to political harassment.

“It is quite sad that the Oneida County Republican Chairman openly stated that the successful performance of a Commissioner’s duties is not sufficient to allow the person to remain in that position," Mandryck said. "Further, when one reads the entire press release, including its point of origin, it is more than interesting that the message was released by a member of the County Executive’s staff. Frankly, that fact sums up both the intent and validity of the request being made. One can only deduce that the County Chairman is acquiescing to the demands of the County Executive. The lack of a County Committee meeting further supports this conclusion.”

“The County Executive is unhappy with the day-to-day operations of the Board of Elections based upon comments from a dissatisfied staff member at the Board who has been relieved of some of her previous responsibility due to necessity," she continued. "This person was absent from the office for the election process (10 weeks at full pay), had not implemented the inspector training process as I had directed and this process needed to be completed in order to ensure satisfactory inspector staffing for the upcoming elections. Those duties were assigned to an individual who was on the job and able to accomplish the monumental task of catching up with the efforts that should have been done previously. While it is unfortunate that I was forced to take these specific steps to correct the situation, I had no other choice in order to protect the integrity of the election process and the rights of the voting public.

"Further, the law explicitly establishes the Board of Elections as an autonomous entity precisely to preclude any elected individual from placing or attempting to place undo influence, in any manner, upon the Board of Elections and thus the election process. This is not the first episode of such exercise and attempted manipulation of the Board of Elections and, sadly, I have been definitively advised that it will not be the last," Mandryck continues.

"While it would be much simpler and less stressful to resign and allow the County Executive to force his will upon the Board of Elections, I have received substantial support from staff, vendors, the New York State Board of Elections, elected officials, committee members and leaders and, most importantly, voters, all adamantly opposed to my resignation. Hence, and with all due respect to the Chairman of the County Republican Committee, I will not be resigning my post.”

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