By Jeffery Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
CORNING | The City Council will try it again.
The City Council could not agree in early January how to fill the currently vacant 2nd Ward, which ended up a 273-273 tie between Michele Beckman and Kate Paterson after the ballots were counted.
The council will meet at 6:30 p.m., today at City Hall, and vote to fill the seat.
City Attorney Bryan J. Maggs said the city Charter is clear concerning how to handle votes in election for all public officer.
That didn’t happen in January after councilmen Steven Maio, D-1, and Frank Muccini, R-5, decided to abstain from the vote, claiming they did so because they feel the decision should be up to the 2nd Ward residents and not the City Council.
Mayor Rich Negri said the council will vote to fill the position or discuss the next steps to a special election to fill the seat.
“Muccini and others on the council have shown a degree of bravery in moving this issue towards a special election,” said Joseph Welch, city Democratic Committee chairman. “After all, don’t we really want the residents of the 2nd Ward deciding who represents them? And here we have an opportunity to do so. So why not do that.”
A section of the City Charter says a tie in an election for city office creates a vacancy in that office as of January first following the election, Maggs wrote in November to the council. The Charter requires that all vacancies for elected officials shall be filled by appointment of the City Council.
Negri said he thought the council would vote to fill the position and decide which candidate, Beckman or Patterson, would hold the position in 2017, and a special election will be held in November.
Councilman Steven Maio, D-1, said his intention is to propose a resolution at the City Council’s Feb. 6 meeting to petition Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to call for a special election for the 2nd Ward seat.
The winner of that special election would fill the remaining two years of the term.
For a candidate to win the seat, they must receive a vote from five city councilmen.
During two separate votes in January Negri and councilmen, Nelson, Chris Karam, R-3, and Alison Hunt, R-8, each voted for Republican candidate Michele Beckman.
Councilmen Bill Boland, D-4, and Frank Coccho, D-6, favored Democratic candidate Kate Paterson. Maio, D-1, and Frank Muccini, R-5, each abstained from the vote.
The council voted 5-3 in April 2016, on straight-party lines, selecting Beckman, a strategic planning supervisor at Corning Inc., over Democratic candidate Paterson in an April 2016 vote to fill the position.