It's no secret that the North Greenbush GOP has long had its candidates selected for the fall election and that Democrats are still looking to fill a slate. A familiar face, Jann Liberty, is considering another run for Town Clerk against incumbent Republican Kathryn Connolly. Connolly is a registered Democrat who enjoys the unique distinction of being the only Democrat in the county who consistently receives a Wilson-Pakula waiver from the Independence Party with a guarantee of sorts that no opponent will ever receive such an endorsement for a Primary challenge.
That's because her brother, Thomas Connolly is a party Vice Chair in the Independence Party and can issue the Wilson-Pakula waivers allowing non members of his party to have their name on the ballot in any Independence Party primary. Any non party member who wants to challenge for that Primary line is forced to wage a write in effort while the recipient of the Wilson-Pakula gets the big advantage of having their name on the ballot.
Tom Connolly has managed to use his party position to get a tidy $80,000 a year job on the GOP State Senate payroll overseen by one Senator Dean Skelos.Does that name ring a bell? It should as he has been charged with corruption by the fearless U.S.Attorney from the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. . In addition to the job for Connolly, Skelos also has his wife Gail on the Senate GOP payroll making over $100,000 a year.
Mr. Skelos and his caucus like Wilson Pakula waivers as much as our Town Clerk and the dozens of local GOP endorsed candidates who get these waivers every election cycle. Rare is the example of a local Democrat given such a waiver. That power and the advantage it gives Republicans who curry favor with Thomas Connolly with a State Senate job may enter the tangled political web involving Skelos and the charges against him. You see, Federal prosecutors love clear quid pro quos almost as much as the Senate GOP loves Wilson-Pakulas.