Letters to the editor April 30 to May 6
With anger and sadness, I protest the legislature’s appointment of a disgraced and disreputable Michael McGuire as Sullivan County Attorney. The judicial investigation into his dereliction and deception lasted more than a year, took more than a hundred pages and the vote to remove him by his own peers was unanimous… nine to zero. Yet this legislature, aware of his judicial rejection, acted quickly before its release and rushed him into a post rife with opportunities for further corrupt behavior.
The people of Sullivan County are not stupid. They will not be blamed for asking the following: Where’s the deal? Who’s in on the fix? Who’s getting what? Where’s the payoff? There’s got to be a big fat quid-pro-quo somewhere.
We’ve just learned McGuire’s wife got hired by, of all people, the county sheriff. So, who doesn’t believe there are more prizes to come in the three-plus years left in this legislature’s tenure?
I know not the law regarding suing legislators. But in a world of justice, all five of the legislators who approved the reproached, disgraced and dishonored Michael McGuire—Robert Doherty, Michael Brooks, George Conklin III, Nicolas Salome, Jr. and Alan Sorensen—ought to be prosecuted for dereliction of a sworn fiduciary responsibility.
What happens to a judge who has been found to have “abused his power” and demonstrated “a shocking disregard for the law?” Well, that depends.
The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct (SCJC) read a 162-page report detailing numerous instances of corrupt and improper behavior on the part of Family Court Judge Mike McGuire and determined by a 9-0 vote that he should be removed from office.
But the Sullivan County Legislature reacted very differently. Before the SCJS’s findings were made public, it voted to appoint McGuire County Attorney for a 10-year term.
Between salary and benefits, McGuire can expect to take in close to $2 million in taxpayer money in this new job, but he may be so busy defending himself in court that he won’t have much time left over for county work, as the report identifies many individuals who were wronged by McGuire. Some may decide to sue for being subjected to threatening, abusive or coercive behavior, or because McGuire ordered them handcuffed or jailed illegally. What will happen if McGuire ends up being disbarred? Will Sullivan be stuck with a county attorney who isn’t even an attorney? If this appointment is allowed to stand, will anyone be able to have confidence in the integrity of the county attorney’s office or, for that matter, in the integrity of the county legislature?
Since the scandal broke, one legislator, Luis Alvarez, has said he was not shown the report before the vote and that he no longer supports McGuire. But five others are sticking with their decision to appoint him. Perhaps they think they can get away with it because they were recently elected and won’t have to have to face the voters again until 2023. But we should not forget this travesty. The five legislators still are Robert Doherty, Michael Brooks, George Conklin III, Nicolas Salome, Jr. and Alan Sorensen. Remember this shameful appointment the next time you see any of these names on the ballot.
Callicoon Center, NY
It is now painfully obvious that Donald Trump is not mentally well. He is unfit to continue in office.
Under the 25th Amendment, Vice President Mike Pence has a clear and specific responsibility in such circumstances to take over Trump’s duties.
He has not done so. This is a dereliction of duty, a violation of his oath of office and an impeachable offense.
I call upon our representatives in Congress to do the right thing.
Walter S. Mendler