Dutchess Board of Elections Invalidates Conservative Leadership Change

Oct 17, 2012

The Dutchess County Board of Elections on Tuesday tossed the election of Maureen Natrella as chairwoman of the County Conservative Committee. She was elected in a special session of the committee, which was challenged by committeeman and former Board of Elections commissioner David Gamache.

It will now be up to the State Conservative Committee, headed by long time Chairman Michael Long, to name a new chair. Gamache said he supports former Dutchess Chairwoman Patricia Killian for her old post.

“Pat Killian has served this party well for decades and certainly has the support and certainly has shown her commitment to the Conservative through years of long services. I fully support Pat Killian to continue in that position,” Gamache said.

In his formal objections to the election of Natrella, Gamache maintained the organizational meeting was held beyond the 20 day time limit from the committee elections. He also noted that state law requires a committee be legally constituted if 25 percent of the committee people have been elected by the political party. “At the September 13, 2012 election fewer than 25 percent of the required number of committeemen were elected by the Conservative Party,” Gamache wrote. “Therefore, there is no Dutchess County Conservative Party; therefore, any meeting held to organize a conservative Party in Dutchess County is null and void.”

Gamache also said according to law and rules of the state party, the individuals who called the meeting were not authorized to do so and that the presiding officer and permanent secretary of the meeting were not sworn by oath; that there was not a quorum of enrolled members at the meeting; no votes were taken; and no proxies were permitted to be voted on.