St. Lawrence County chair wants to make sure community has voice in filling vacancy on legislature
Correction: An earlier verision incorrectly stated that Travis Dann represents Gouverneur and DeKalb. In fact he represents Gouverneur and DePeyster. Edited at 7:33 a.m. Monday.
By JIMMY LAWTON
CANTON -- St. Lawrence County Republicans will choose a new legislator to represent Gouverneur and DePeyster in January, but the presiding chairman says he wants to ensure constituents there are considered in the decision.
Travis Dann, a member of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators, defeated Conservative candidate Steven Jackson for a Gouverneur town justice seat.His victory as town justice will create an opening on the St. Lawrence County legislature, which will be filled through an appointment until the next election.
St. Lawrence County Attorney Stephen Button says the law dictates the processes for filling vacant board seats.
Button says a committee made up of members of the same party as the outgoing legislator nominates a candidate that is then approved by the full board. The county law as written also states that the full board shall approve the nominated candidate.
Burke says he intends to follow the county law, but says he wants to ensure that Dann and representatives from Gouverneur and DePeyster have a say in who the new legislator will be.
“I have to question whether any of us on the board should have a role in the decision other than appointing a neutral committee,” he said. “I question the logic of having legislators from other parts of the county picking the representative for an area they don’t live in” without a say by locals, he said.
Burke says the people elected Dann and his opinion should be at the forefront of filling the seat.
“The seat belongs to Travis Dann and the people of Gouverneur and DePeyster it doesn’t belong to me or the other nine representatives,” he said.
Burke said while the county law may be misguided he will abide by it, but he says he will also do what he can to ensure individuals in Dann’s constituency are considered in the process.
Burke also recently announced he would not be continuing his role as county chairman in 2017.