More Disarray and Discord in the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee

The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee has yet to announce their final slate of candidates for this year’s city election. This is especially odd since petitions designating candidates had to be filed by March 25, and the deadline for filling any vacancies that occurred because candidates dropped out was April 2. As documented in earlier posts, the selection of Democratic candidates for the upcoming city election has been reminiscent of the game of musical chairs.

The most recent dispute among Democratic Committee members over candidates came in early April over choosing a replacement for John Franck when he decided to withdraw from the race for Accounts Commissioner. Two candidates expressed a desire to fill that vacancy on the ticket.

They were:

Dillon Moran, readers may recall, originally circulated a petition to run for Commissioner of Public Works this year. He subsequently changed his mind and took himself off the ticket as a candidate for this position and decided instead to put himself forward as a candidate for the newly vacant Accounts position. Mr. Moran had run an unsuccessful race for Public Works two years ago.

Ms. Rella is new to local politics. She has a degree from Columbia Law School and spent over a decade working for a New York City law firm. She was recently appointed to serve on the Civil Service Commission by Mayor Kelly.

Under New York State election law, political party committees set up something called a “Committee on Vacancies” to name persons to run for office on a party’s line when a candidate on a designating petition declines to run or dies.

Five members were designated to serve on the local Democratic committee on vacancies to fill the Accounts position (as well as vacancies that occurred when the Democratic candidates for Finance and Public Works stepped aside). They were:

  • Otis Maxwell
  • Georgana Hanson
  • Emma Cohen
  • Eddie Abraham
  • David Morency

In an unusual move, a number of Democratic Committee members signed a letter to the committee on vacancies in support of Ms. Rella for the Accounts position. [See the letter and a full list of signatories at the end of this post] Among the signatories was Sarah Burger, chairperson of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee. Other notable signatories included:

  • Joanne Yepsen – Past mayor of the city
  • Pattie Morrison – Unsuccessful candidate for Commissioner of Finance
  • Minors Sanghvi – current candidate for Commissioner of Finance and had been a member of the Democratic State Committee
  • Susan Steer – former Zoning Board member and wife of Skidmore Professor Bob Turner (He chaired the unsuccessful 2017 Charter Commission and has continued to be a leader in the efforts to create a city manger form of government in Saratoga Springs)
  • Ann Bullock – Past member of Commission on Charter Change who, along with Bill McTygue accused members of the City Council of participating in pay-to-play awards of contracts. With much publicity they sent their accusations to the New York State Attorney General who took no action.
  • Natalya Lakhtakia – School Board Member

In spite of the significant support Angela Rella had and her impressive credentials, the committee on vacancies voted three to two in favor of Dillon Moran.

Sources tell me that Ms. Rella will be circulating petitions to run for Accounts Commissioner on her own line on the November ballot. I am told that Julie Cuneo is her campaign manager.

Strange Post By Tara Gaston on her Election Plans

Recently the Times Union and other newspapers reported that Supervisor Tara Gaston, in addition to running on the Democratic Line, would be running on a new independent line called Saratoga Stronger Together. The articles reported that Robin Dalton would be running for Mayor on this line and Adam Israel would be running for Commissioner of Finance.

Tara Gaston posted the following statement on her Facebook page, which she subsequently removed, announcing that she would actually not be on the Saratoga Stronger Together line after all. I cannot make sense of her explanation of her involvement (or non-involvement) with Saratoga Stronger Together . I welcome the readers of this blog to offer some sort of clarification.

Letter To Committee On Vacancies

April 1, 2021

To the Committee of Vacancies:

This letter is in support of Angela Rella’s nomination as Commissioner of Accounts.

I have known Angela personally as both a friend and fellow community activist for over 6 years.  I can attest to the quality of her character, integrity and innate intelligence. Angela is discrete and not one to “toot her own horn”, although she is an accomplished attorney who spent over a decade litigating complex commercial cases at a New York City law firm. 

She currently gives back to the community by working pro-bono to assist Saratoga County residents in need. She also works for the Legal Project in Albany representing clients in domestic violence and immigration cases.  She most recently was appointed by Mayor Kelly to the Civil Service Commission. 

Angela resides in town, with her husband Jim and their two school age children.

As Commissioner of Accounts, Angela would be a consensus builder, she works collaboratively, and would be an excellent steward of democratic values and ideals. Presently there are no female candidates on the Democratic line, and the Republicans are running a full female slate expect for the department of Public Works, who is an incumbent. 

I can say without hesitation that Angela would be an excellent addition to our slate. 

The names listed below are of fellow democratic committee members who have expressed verbal support of Angela’s candidacy and support her receiving the nomination. 

Thank you.

Julie Cuneo

Alice Smith

Joanne Yepsen

Andrew Beatty

Peter McTygue

Dianne Pedinotti

Marcy Taylor

Joy King

Minita Sanghvi

Ralph Burger

Natalya Lakhtakia

Betsy Coffey

Mary Carr

Patricia Morrison

Megan McEntee

Sarah Burger

Susan Steer

Patricia Tuz

Ann Bullock

Susan Cohen


3 thoughts on “More Disarray and Discord in the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee”

  1. Interesting that Mr. Moran, the same person who created charter change Facebook sites in an attempt to confuse the public, is now on the opposite side of of many of his pro-city manager allies. If past actions are any barometer of what to expect in the future, this election season will be particularly ugly.

    I don’t know much about Ms. Rella but her list of supporters doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, as the reasonable Democrats are far outweighed by signatories known primarily for their divisiveness or failures. I look forward to hearing from the candidate directly, and if elected, I hope she doesn’t embody the worst traits displayed by some of the former officials or failed candidates who signed the letter above.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joanne associates herself with these individuals, Margot, because she is just like them. Let’s not forget that she is the only elected official to have been found in violation of the city’s ethics code when she solicited employment from Saratoga Hospital while they had issues pending before the City Council when she was Mayor.

      Liked by 2 people

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