First Campaign Scandal of '09

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

First Campaign Scandal of '09

...or so the Southampton Town Democratic and Independence supporters would have everyone believe.

Candidate says invitations at work were a mistake

No kidding!

Yesterday's breaking story on is a troubling one, but should not be a fatal one for Republican/Conservative candidate for High­way Superintendent John McGann.

The essentials are that Terry Flanagan, Mr. McGann’s campaign manager and Vice-Chair of the Town Conservative Party, had distributed flyer invitations to a barbecue at Mr. Flana­gan's home last Thursday, June 25th.

The rub is that Mr. Flanagan was assisted in this activity by one Jen Stearns, a Town High­way Department employee, during a workday, and that other highway department employees received the invitations.

That makes it wrong, both as a violation of Town policy against political activity on Town time and Town property, and on an ethical level as well.

Mr. McGann's Democratic opponent this Fall, Alex Gregor, was quick to step up and attempt to slip a noose around the Republican's neck:

"What level it rises to I don’t know, but clearly Mr. McGann and Mr. Flanagan do not understand the proper ethics of running a campaign."

Mr. Gregor is correct on one point... he has no idea "what level it rises to," and therefore whether Mr. McGann was even involved!

(Gregor has quickly evolved into the Y2K edition of J. Russell Patterson, available to run for any office on any party line which will have him.)

More troubling is that reporter Brian Bossetta received no return calls or E-mails from Mr. Flanagan while preparing his story. Trying to "stonewall" at this point is silly.

This is what should happen before 1:00 pm today if Mr. McGann's campaign is not to be permanently damaged.

Mr. Flanagan should immediately resign as Mr. McGann's campaign manager for embarrassing the candidate.

(This should have been done already... if he didn't understand the need to get ahead of this gaffe, then he's too stupid to be of any use to Mr. McGann!)

Current Highway Superintendent Bill Master­son who has said all the appropriate things1 so far, needs to reprimand employee Jen Stearns immediately, with a letter in her personnel file and perhaps a three-day suspension without pay.

(This too should have been done already!)

The next words anyone hears from Town Con­servative Party leader Jim Malone, presently doubling as Republican Party candidate for Supervisor2, should be an announcement at a press con­ference later today that he has asked for, and received, Mr. Flanagan's resignation as Vice-Chairman of the Town Conservative Party.

(But only if the Conservative Party hopes to maintain any credibility in the Town.)

In reality, this is a "scandal of perception," but potentially just as damaging as if an envelope stuffed with cash were involved, or someone's brother-in-law was watching daytime TV on his couch while someone else punched his time card for him at the Highway barn.

McGann and Malone need to get on this now!

  1. As has beleaguered Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot who took quick action.
  2. Though probably not for long.


1. Hampton West said...

Really, the Highway Department Superintendent's job is elective?

That's crazy!

Well, HW, as that iconic American Willie Sutton once noted: "That's where the money is."
– Dean

2. The Quiogue Kid said...

I don't remember this sort of stuff happening during the Tommy Lavalle administration...

Whatever might have happened in this arena under Tom's tenure never mattered... it was a different time.
Sometime I'll have to relate an event from the mid-'70s which demonstrated just how impregnable the man was as Highway Superintendent.

3. Mrs Genetics said...

Is that the same Jim Malone from my 72-73 6th grade WHB class with Dick Anderson as the teacher?

That's sounds about right... his Mom and step-Dad ran The Continental Bamboo on Montauk Highway back then.

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