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Monroe County loses both elections commissioners within a month

Feb 19, 2020

Colleen Anderson, the Democratic Monroe County elections commissioner, announced Wednesday that she will step down after six months on the job to join the administration of County Executive Adam Bello.

Her departure follows that of her Republican counterpart, Douglas French, who stepped down earlier this month.

Anderson, the former deputy commissioner who ascended to her post in August following the retirement of the longtime commissioner, Thomas Ferrarese, said in an email to party leaders that she was leaving to become the county's purchasing manager.

Her email read that her last day on the job would be March 4.

“It has been my honor to serve the Democratic Party and all the voters of Monroe County for over 11 years as both deputy commissioner and commissioner,” her email read. “After much reflection on the 2019 election, it has become clear to me that the demands of the commissionership did not allow me to maintain an appropriate work-life balance for the needs of my family.”

The departures of Anderson and French come as the county prepares for three big election days this year that are expected to generate high turnout. There is the presidential primary on April 28, the regular primary on June 23, and the November 3 general election. But vacancies in several offices have made the schedule even more complex.

Like in other boards of elections across the state, the Monroe County Board of Elections is overseen by a pair of co-commissioners, a Democrat and a Republican, who are elected by the leaders of their respective parties and each serve four-year terms.

Under state law, a deputy elections commissioner becomes the acting commissioner upon the resignation of the commissioner. Parties are required by law to elect a new commissioner within 45 days of a commissioner's departure.

The deputy Democratic commissioner is LaShana Boose, a party leader who has run unsuccessfully for Rochester City Council on two occasions. 

"I know it's bad timing," Anderson said in a phone interview. "But I know I'm not the only one who makes this office work."

French, the Republican commissioner, had his last day on the job on February 3.

Nancy Leven, the deputy Republican commissioner, has assumed his duties in the interim.

David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at dandreatta@rochester-citynews.com.