The Examiner

Mount Pleasant Democrat’s Ballot Line Upheld

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: The Westchester County Board of Elections has rejected a Republican challenge to petitions from Democratic town board candidate Wayne McPartland, shown above, that could have kept him off the November ballot.
: The Westchester County Board of Elections has rejected a Republican challenge to petitions from Democratic town board candidate Wayne McPartland, shown above, that could have kept him off the November ballot.

It is official; there will be a competitive race for a seat on the Mount Pleasant Town Board this fall.

The Westchester County Board of Elections recently rejected an effort from a local Republican to petitions signed on behalf of first-time Democratic town council candidate Wayne McPartland that could have knocked him off the November ballot.

It has been several years since a Democrat has served on the five-person town board.

McPartland will challenge two Republican councilmen, Mark Rubeo and Nicholas DiPaolo.

The Democrats are not challenging incumbent Republican Carl Fulgenzi, the town supervisor.

According to a press release from the Mount Pleasant Democratic Committee, last week the board of elections unanimously rejected Specifications of Objections filed by town resident Aimee Nichols against the Democratic candidate Wayne McPartland.

Town Democratic Committee Chair Janet Gandolfo said the majority of Nichols’ line-by-line challenges “frivolous.”

“Claiming that the absence of zip codes, middle initials or individual apartment numbers in multi-family dwellings invalidates the signatures of registered voters is clearly mean-spirited,” Gandolfo said.

Gandolfo also criticized Rubeo, whose law firm represented Nichols. “Rubeo, a practicing attorney, is also a current member of the Town Council running for re-election this year,” she said.

John Fisher, who coordinated the volunteer petition carrying effort to get McPartland on the ballot, also chided the town Republicans.

“Can you imagine how all our volunteers, who spent hours gathering signatures for Wayne, feel about this behind-the-scenes attempt to overturn their hard work,” Fisher said. “Furthermore I believe that, when the residents of Mount Pleasant, regardless of political-party affiliation, learn of this attempt to deny Wayne a place on the ballot, they will be highly offended.

McPartland, a Pleasantville resident, is a former New York City fire battalion chief who took early retirement in 2013 after 33 years with the fire department.

McPartland moved to Pleasantville in 2005 and, following his retirement, he said he took several years off to spend more time with his family. “Then I grew restless and decided I wanted to get back into public service full time,” he said.

McPartland said he was asked by the local Democrat Party to run, noting the five-person town board has been an all-Republican body for several years. “I love a good challenge,” he said. “We’ll see if the town’s residents want a return to two party government come November.”

For their parts, Fulgenzi, Rubeo and DiPaolo said they did not know McPartland and were not aware of his involvement in town.

“I do not know Mr. McPartland. I don’t recall ever seeing or meeting him at any town function whatsoever, during my numerous community activities, in my five years on the town board or during my 30 plus years as a town resident. I wish him the best of luck in his endeavor to seek election to the town board,” Rubeo said. ”It’s nice to see people willing to be involved. Also, any time there is a contested election the public’s interest in the operations of the town increases, which is always a good thing. It gives us a chance to discuss all of the things that we have accomplished.”

Rubeo also said he did nothing wrong in representing Nichols. ”Regarding the claim that my law firm is representing a Republican challenging his election petitions because they were missing zip codes, this is incorrect,” he said. “A town resident requested that, pursuant to State Election Law, Mr. McPartland’s election petitions be reviewed in detail by the board of elections, because there appeared to be over 100 instances of irregularities of a variety of types. Any candidate seeking to run for public office has an obligation to comply with New York State Election Law before they can get on the ballot. My office simply agreed to have any notices from the board of elections to the objectant to be sent to my office. There are no currently pending legal actions or proceedings in which my law firm is representing anyone concerning the election for the town board. However, if there were any such proceedings pending, a conflict of interest would only arise if I had an interest in the outcome of the matter which conflicted with my own client’s interest or I was seeking an outcome which conflicted with another one of my client’s interests outside the pending matter.”

Though the Democratic Committee stated in its release that McPartland is the first Democratic candidate to run for the town board in more than 20 years, Rubeo disputed that, providing a document stating The Official Statement of Votes Cast and Canvassed in Westchester from the Nov. 6, 2007 general election stated that Fulgenzi and fellow Republican-Conservative Joan Maybury defeated Democrats Michelle McLean and Peter Fiumefreddo.

Fisher said even if Democrats ran for office a few years ago, he believed the local party has not officially endorsed town board candidates for 20 years.

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