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Legislators Remain Deadlocked Over Election of New Chair for 2020

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Legislators Remain Deadlocked Over Election of New Chair for 2020

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature, legislators remained split between two Democrats seeking to lead the body in 2020. As was the case at the Legislature’s organizational meeting two weeks ago, Mike Lane of Dryden and Anna Kelles of Ithaca were both nominated to be Chairperson, and each received seven votes.

Voting in favor of Legislator Lane were Legislators Shawna Black, Amanda Champion, Deborah Dawson, Henry Granison, Dan Klein, Anne Koreman and Mike Lane. Legislator Kelles received votes from Legislators Rich John, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Dave McKenna, Glenn Morey, Martha Robertson, Mike Sigler and Anna Kelles.

Legislator Sigler (R) has been serving as Temporary Chair of the Legislature since the beginning of the January 7th organizational meeting, and presided over Tuesday’s meeting. Following the vote for the chair, Legislator Deborah Dawson (D) introduced a motion to reconsider Sigler as the temporary chair, citing concerns from constituents about a Republican leading the Democratic majority on the Legislature.

During the discussion that followed, Legislator Dan Klein (D) asked Sigler whether he would pledge not to make any appointments while Temporary Chair that could be permanent for the year. Sigler said he could wait until after the matter over who becomes Chair resolves itself. Additionally, the Clerk of the Legislature, Cathy Covert, reminded legislators that most appointments require their approval.

Legislator Sigler added he does not intend to “exacerbate any strife” as Temporary Chair. Legislator Martha Robertson (D) said she believes “Mike is doing a good job,” noting that in her time on the Legislature, decisions have been based on common sense, not party lines. The motion to reconsider the vote for Temporary Chair failed in a 7-7 vote.

Voting in favor were Legislators Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Deborah Dawson, Henry Granison, Mike Lane, Shawna Black, Anne Koreman and Anna Kelles. Voting against were Legislators Rich John, Amanda Champion, Martha Robertson, Glenn Morey, Dan Klein, Dave McKenna and Mike Sigler.