Nassau County Legislature Taps Schmitt As Presiding Officer; Corbin Is Deputy; Abrahams Gets Minority Leader Post
It's unofficially official. Well, Sort of... Schmitt 9, Abrahams 8, Corbin 2. Election "Certified" by Clerk, Stayed By Court
In what many in political and community circles say stands democracy on head and flies in the face of the will of the electorate, the Nassau County Legislature, controlled by a Democratic majority, today elected Peter Schmitt, a Republican, as its new Presiding Officer.
Roger Corbin, the Democratic legislator who, with fellow Democrat Lisanne Altmann, orchestrated a coup (in collusion with Schmitt and his Republican colleagues) to oust Judy Jacobs from the top post, has taken his old seat as Deputy Presiding Officer, while Kevan Abrahams, a Democrat, is the new Minority Leader.
After the vote, "certified" by the new Clerk to the Legislature (a Republican appointed by Mr. Schmitt), the Democrats stormed out of 1 West Street and took their case back to State Supreme Court. Their argument: 10 votes are required to elect a Presiding Officer. Schmitt got 9 (all of the Republican Legislators), Kevan Abrahams 8 (all of the Democrats except Corbin and Altmann), and Corbin got 2 (his own vote, and that of Altmann). The Court has stayed the certification of the Legislature's vote, keeping the status quo, with the matter adjourned until Monday.
One observer of the scene, upon learning of the vote from The Community Alliance, described the outcome as "topsy-turvy." Said another, "the people elect a Democratic majority, with the presumption that it will be a Democrat who leads, and here the legislators wheel and deal, in their own self interests, defying the public will!"
An aide to a high-ranking Nassau County elected official, who at the time had no formal word of a vote having taken place, spoke to The Community Alliance on the condition of anonymity. "If what I'm hearing is true, it's a good thing that the collective memory is extremely short. If the election was to be held tomorrow, some of these guys would get the boot." And deservedly so!
In a chain of events unprecedented in local politics (akin to a Republican controlled United States Senate electing Ted Kennedy as its Majority Leader), the Nassau County Legislature has slapped the faces of voters who elected a Democratic majority.
What this legislative body has done -- short of castrating itself in the minds of Nassau County residents -- is "obsence." That's not our opinion, but rather, the word of Peter Schmitt himself, who said, "I don't want to be presiding officer of a legislature that is a Democratic majority... That would be obscene... That is not what the people of this county intended when they elected 10 Democrats... The Democrats should be in charge."
Of course, that was then, before the Legislature's vote, not now, as Mr. Schmitt goes to the head of the class. Today's civics lesson: a new meaning for the word "obscenity."
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CLICK HERE TO READ THE LONG ISLAND PRESS ARTICLE.
CLICK HERE FOR THE WORD FROM NASSAU GOP WATCH.
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ON AGAIN OFF AGAIN! Click HERE for Newsday story, Control Up In Air.