With the resignation of Mark Nadeau as mayor, Cobleskill’s Concerned Citizens are stepping up efforts to convince Supervisor Tom Murray do the same.
The group is continuing to collect names in hopes of petitioning Governor David Paterson to remove Mr. Murray and is meeting tonight, Wednesday, to plot strategy for the next Board of Supervisors meeting.
Earl VanWormer, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said they’re welcome—as long as they’re respectiveful.
But, he said, he doesn’t see the racism accusations against Mr. Murray, a Democrat, as a county issue.
“There’s really nothing we can do. We don’t have any power to take any action,” Mr. VanWormer said, a Republican.
“Once the Board of Supervisors gets involved, it becomes a political issue and we’re better off staying out of town business. This is really an issue between Mr. Murray and Cobleskill residents.”
Mr. VanWormer said he doesn’t condone racist comments—and doesn’t think any supervisor does.
“Tom has done an outstanding job on the Board of Supervisors,” he added. “There have been no other similar incidents.”
Cliff Hay, chairman of the Schoharie County Democratic Party, said he wants the whole story before he’d even consider suggesting that Mr. Murray to step down.
“Let’s wait and see what the facts are,” Mr. Hay said.
“It might be that he should resign, but we need all the facts first.”
Mr. Hay—like others—believes Mr. Murray and Mr. Nadeau were set up by Highway Superintendent Tom Fissell when he taped them making racist comments.
“Does he tape everyone?” Mr. Hay asked of Mr. Fissell. “And if the tape was made in January, why did he wait so long before releasing it? Mr. Fissell clearly has his own agenda.
Mr. Hay also said he believes Mr. Murray can continue to be an effective leader, even as groups like the Concerned Citizens call for his resignation.
“We hired him to do a job in Cobleskill and to make it a better place. It’s not up to me to cast the first stone.
“The people can make up their minds at the next election. Legally, he did nothing wrong. Morally…that’s a different question.”
But Dawn Fiorillo, spokesman for Concerned Citizens, said the questions are one and the same.
“We’ve heard that supervisors are encouraging Mr. Murray not to resign. That he should stand firm, that he didn’t break the law,” she said.
“But his constituents are asking for answers—which we’re not getting. And in Schoharie, he represents all of the county.”
Mike West, town attorney, said an independent investigation and interviews into the comments by Mr. Murray and Mr. Nadeau is still ongoing; councilmen are hoping they’ll have some answers at least by their August meeting on the 9th.
County supervisors meet again on August 20 at 10am in Schoharie.
“They should feel free to come and speak,” Mr. VanWormer said of the Concerned Citizens, “as long as they’re orderly and respectful. That’s the fair way.”