With the news reported August 11, 2014, that Binghamton City Democratic Committee Chairman Marty Doorey has solicited applications for the city’s deputy city clerk position - based on loyalty to the Democrat Party - Democrats now have an opportunity to take the ethical high road by taking responsibility and being accountable. In fact, some might say it is required of them. Those wouldn't be Democrats.
As has been reported, Chairman Doorey, who is also the Chairman for the Community Development Advisory Committee, sent out an email on 8/9/14 seeking applicants for the position of the deputy city clerk. The position was stated to be a political appointment, and would require,
"Clerks are expected to be loyal to the party that gives them the job,” the email states. “They are expected to do ‘political’ work, making campaign phone calls, showing up at campaign fundraisers, collecting signatures at petition times and other functions asked by party elected officials and party leaders."
Further, Chairman Doorey noted that the position would require work as a political spy for the Democrat Party. There is no ambiguity in the email that reporting to the Democrat leadership and Party on the actions in City Hall was mandatory.
Of course Republicans on the Binghamton City Council have called for the resignation of Council President Teri Rennia. It was Councilwoman Rennia who requested help from Chairman Doorey in seeking a candidate for the position, but she denies she had anything to do with the contents of the email sent.
But here is the rub of the issue.
Just over 3 months ago Democrats were screaming for the head of former Deputy County Executive Bijoy Datta over emails he sent that stated political work for the Republican Party was required for County workers in the office of County Executive Debbie Preston.
Mr. Datta has stated in past interviews with the media that the emails were a badly worded statement and the reality of the situation was that workers were not required to perform such duties unless they volunteered (Mr. Datta was unavailable for comment for this article). Yet, as late as May 21, 2014, Democrats stated they were pursuing a case against Mr. Datta even though he stepped down from his position as Deputy County Executive on May 25, 2014 for another position.
Thus, if Democrats believe that an investigation was needed just for the appearance of discrepancies, shouldn't they be the first to stand by their convictions and take responsibility for actively seeking out a political spy? Unless the requirement to "supply political intelligence about what is going on at city hall," is considered ambiguous in some way.
Truly if Democrats want to claim the ethical high ground - especially after Gov. Cuomo's spectacularly failed efforts with the Moreland Commission to root out corruption, which is under federal investigation itself - then they must take action in Broome County. To do nothing is to admit the bluster in April was a political farce meant only to raise political donations.
When looking at the big picture the need for action by Democrats on this issue is even more of an obligation. At the Federal level Democrats in the NY-22 abandoned constituents by not even attempting to produce a candidate to run for the congressional seat that effectively has now been won by Rep. Richard Hanna without a single vote cast. At the State level there is the highly suspect actions of Gov. Cuomo as previously noted. Now at the local level there is apparently spycraft and political favoritism.
Yet Democrats want to claim the ethical high ground? Not without someone taking responsibility and being held accountable. Of course if anyone is expecting that they had best not hold their breath waiting for it. Councilwoman Rennia has stated to the media,
"While Rennia said the email went too far, she says this entire situation is being blown out of proportion."
As for Chairman Marty Doorey, he has stated in part,
"This is likely what political appointees of any party at any level are told."
If Democrats in the City of Binghamton are reaching for the ethical (and even perhaps legal) high ground, they might first start off by getting some shovels to dig back to the surface.