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Monroe County Democratic legislators say they have ousted their leader

Aug 25, 2020
File Photo / CITY

Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature said Tuesday that they had voted to replace the head of their caucus, Minority Leader Vincent Felder, as festering tensions within the party reached an inflection point. 

But the intra-party friction only intensified when Felder claimed the vote was illegitimate and the president of the Legislature, saying he would not “pick sides” declined to recognize the purported leadership change.

James Brown / WXXI News

State Supreme Court Justice John Ark is scheduled to hear an update Friday on a lawsuit filed this spring about the process of appointing a Democratic Monroe County elections commissioner

That update takes new importance after the last Monroe County Legislature meeting.

Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, who is assistant Democratic minority leader, successfully stalled City Councilmember Jaclyn Ortiz’s appointment to the post at Tuesday night's meeting. Five Democrats, including Minority Leader Vincent Felder, and all Republicans in the Legislature supported a motion to not have a vote, 20 to 9.

County Executive Adam Bello.
Max Schulte / WXXI News

An independent commission would draw new boundary lines for Monroe County’s 29 legislative districts based on 2020 Census data under legislation proposed Monday by County Executive Adam Bello.

But the measure is poised to be rejected by legislators, including those in his own Democratic Party.

“I don’t support it,” said Vince Felder, leader of the Legislature’s Democratic minority.

Republican Majority Leader Steve Brew went a step further.

“I predict that it’s DOA,” Brew said.

Monroe County Democratic legislators eye ousting leader

Aug 7, 2020
Provided

A movement is afoot among Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature to oust the head of their caucus, Minority Leader Vince Felder, after less than eight months on the job.

The tenure of Felder, who assumed the leadership on Jan. 1, has been tumultuous by any measure, dominated by wrangling among Democratic legislators and county Democratic Party loyalists over the appointment of a new Board of Elections commissioner.

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Now that Rochester City Councilmember Jackie Ortiz has been chosen by Democratic Party leaders to be their next Board of Elections commissioner, one of the biggest critics of the process said it may be time to make peace. 

Monroe County Minority Leader Vince Felder said Monday that what happens next is up to county legislators, who will vote on the position next month. Felder said these appointments are typically made without much of a fight. 

James Brown / WXXI News

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello has created the Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which is dedicated to creating more equity in Monroe County. 

The new department will be led by a chief diversity officer and will create at least four new positions. The new positions will review county contracts, policies, and strategies with a goal, Bello said, of combating all forms of bias. 

WHEC-TV

Longtime Rochester area Assemblyman David Gantt is being remembered for the devotion he showed to his district and the guidance he gave to many local political leaders. Gantt died earlier this month at the age of 78. He served nearly 37 years in the NY Assembly.

The Monroe County Legislature's minority leader is defending the county's election commissioners, who have been heavily criticized for how Tuesday's primaries were handled.

Among the complaints: too few polling places, long lines, poor organization, a lack of social distancing, and some voters even receiving the wrong ballots. 

Jeremy Moule / Rochester City Newspaper

Rev. Lewis Stewart, faith leaders and criminal justice advocates are asking Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo not to sign a controversial law. 

The measure, passed this month, makes it illegal to annoy, alarm or threaten the personal safety of first responders and various forms of law enforcement. Those who do, would face a hefty fine and possibly jail time. It passed in a party-line vote earlier this month. The bill’s co-author, County Legislator Karla Boyce, said she was inspired to introduce the bill by recent instances of first responders put in danger.