Saturday, March 6, 2010

Underpayments to Democrats and No-Show Job for Republican Exposed

The Hudson City Democratic Committee has uncovered documents that expose a pattern of underpayments to Democratic election custodians in the City of Hudson.  

The first instance of the underpayments has been traced to Geeta Cheddie, former Deputy Commissioner at the Board of Elections (BOE) and current 1st Ward Alderman.  Cheddie has admitted to the payment differential but claims that the difference in pay was due to difference in duties between the Republican and Democratic custodians.  There is no basis in fact for this explanation.

After Cheddie was terminated, the underpayments to the Democrats were continued, seemingly with the knowledge of at least some of the Republican BOE staff, until their discovery.


In addition, the committee has uncovered an improper payment to former Republican Deputy Election Commissioner, Michael Nabozny.

A voucher indicates that Nabozny was originally to be paid $150 to be the Republican Party Representative for the 2009 General Election. That is 3 times the amount that the Democratic Party Representative was paid. After the discrepancy was discovered the payment voucher was altered to indicate that he was being paid to be Republican Custodian.  However, the regular Republican Custodian was already paid the proper $300. Those present and working on election day do not recall Nabozny performing the duties for either position on election day. In fact the voucher was signed (attesting that the work had been performed) before the election had even taken place.

The payment voucher is fraught with cross-outs and white-outs. In addition, the voucher was not actually signed by the Republican Commissioner, Don Kline, but rather a subordinate who signed his name.  The voucher should have been co-signed by Democratic Commissioner, Virginia Martin, but the voucher was instead signed by former Board of Supervisors Chairman Art Baer, overruling the newly instituted policy requiring both Commissioner signatures. To date there has been no explanation as to why Chairman Baer would have signed the document, which in effect circumvented the checks and balances that bi-partisan approvals create. It also remains unclear whether he had the legal authority to do so. To date there has been no comment from current Chairman Roy Brown.

Sam Pratt has done an exemplary job of explaining the details of the issue. 
You can read it at: SamPratt.com and an update here.
Also see "Unequal Pay Rates Cause Stir" in Register-Star and
"Dems Respond to Election Day Disparities" in the Columbia Paper