Time to grow up and be adults
This year has seen a very interesting and contentious political battle for the Gloversville mayor’s seat. Incumbent Dayton King was challenged by William Rowback and the political battle seemed more like an internet schoolyard squabble between a bunch of 12-year-olds than two men vying for one of the most important local positions available.
The results of the election were equally disturbing, leaving many once again shaking their heads in disbelief at the turn of events.
Topping the battle off was a live, on-air debate where King hit Rowback with questions about his career aspirations and referenced information only available in Rowback’s personnel file. That resulted in King’s eventual arrest on a misdemeanor charge of misuse of public office.
While King has defended his actions, saying Rowback repeatedly asked him on air if he knew something about his personnel file that others didn’t, so he said he was just responding to Rowback’s questioning, noting on-air that “anyone” can FOIL for Rowback’s file.
That is not true, personnel files are off-limits. The police asked for, and received a copy of the on-air debate before filing the charge against King, so they must feel there is probable cause for the charge.
But, here in the United States, we have what is called a presumption of innocence. That means King is presumed innocent while his court case works its way through the judicial system.
Both camps are once again up in arms. Rowback supporters are calling for King to resign and King supporters are calling the arrest, “sour grapes,” a reference to Rowback supposedly being a “sore loser.”
Remember, election night unofficial results had Rowback winning by a fairly large margin, and King conceded the race to his opponent.
Then three weeks later, the Fulton County Board of Elections had to call both King and Rowback and give them the news that, no, there was a mistake on election night and King actually won by a mere 28 votes.
Rowback supporters are under the impression that if King is guilty, Rowback should be automatically given the mayoral position.
While I understand their reasoning, that isn’t the way it works.
Since King is considered innocent until proven guilty, and this court case could drag past Jan. 1 when King starts his third term as mayor, King can remain mayor in 2018 even if he broke the law and used his position to reveal unfavorable information only available in Rowback’s personnel file.
And even if he is found guilty – 97 percent of court cases are plead down rather than go to a jury trial — there is no sure-fire mechanism to remove him from office for misconduct.
An ethics panel would have to be charged with investigating if there was an ethic’s violation; and if they find King guilty, could recommend to the Common Council his resignation. But, that is all they could do, ask. Ethic boards do not have any power.
Even if King is forced out of office, Councilman-at-Large Vince DeSantis would step into the role until a special election could be held.
With that said, people should still be allowed to have their say and express their displeasure with King.
That is called Freedom of Speech.
But, if you choose to protest, and please do if you believe in your heart King must go — voices have been known to right a wrong for eons — but do so peacefully.
Resorting to the childish behavior we all witnessed during the race for the position will not accomplish anything but making you look childish as well.
I, personally, do not feel King was professional during the campaign battle for the position. His Facebook Live sessions, such as the time he posted a phone conversation with his unknowing opponent, was not taking the high road. It was a win-at-any-cost campaign.
And I feel some of Rowback’s supporters crossed the line, such as the woman who posted a photo of King checking out of the supermarket at 9 in the morning – excuse me, but that seems to be stalking and who hasn’t shopped for groceries in the morning?
Both sides did things that I personally feel was immature.
Let’s take the high road, be adults and see what happens with King in court and move forward from there.
If King is found guilty of misusing his office, it is up to the voters in this city to get him out the right way — vote him out.
If he is innocent, let him do the job he was voted to do.