fire: Christina Mahoney on the witness stand on Tuesday.
by Mark Gallucci
was the final day of testimony for Rensselaer County personnel
director Christina Mahoney, who took the stand in the trial
of former County Executive Henry Zwack. Zwack, former County
Attorney Daniel Ehring, former Deputy County Executive Joseph
Cybulski and former county labor lawyer Bryan Goldberger are
facing numerous wrongdoing charges in relation to an alleged
attempt to trade favors with a North Greenbush party boss.
Mahoney has said that Zwack and his advisors threatened her
job if she did not allow North Greenbush police officer Anthony
“T.J.” Germano a chance to retake a physical fitness test
he failed in 1998. Germano is the grandson of North Greenbush
Democratic party boss James Germano.
During Tuesday’s testimony, defense attorneys attempted to
shake her claim that she felt her job was being threatened
and attempted to paint a portrait in which she and her coworkers
set Zwack up by
making numerous tape recordings of her conversations with
him and his advisors. During trial yesterday, however, the
jury heard tapes in which Zwack—obviously infuriated—cursed
about the quandary Mahoney had put him in by refusing the
retest; in addition, former county labor department staffer
Glenn Kakely testified that Zwack told him that he had made
deals with key political players in which he promised to rig
Germano’s physical fitness test.
Interestingly, the younger Germano was given a job with New
York state just two months before the Zwack trial began. The
job offer came just before the elder Germano was offered a
plea bargain deal in which he would have had to turn state’s
evidence in the trial—possibly against Sen. Joseph Bruno (R-C-I-Brunswick)
and his top aide, both of whom have been identified as potential
witnesses in the case.
to the Redistricting Board
months of deliberation, the state Legislature has passed a
bill that would redraw new legislative district lines for
New York; the bill, which now awaits only the signature of
Gov. George Pataki to become law, is being opposed by a coalition
of good- government groups who say the proposed new districts
deny New York voters choice in elections, break unfairly along
racial and ethnic lines, and fail to ensure that campaign-finance
and redistricting reforms accompany the final agreement.
Yesterday (Wednesday), Common Cause/NY, the League of Women
Voters, and the New York Public Interest Research Group came
together for a press conference in Albany to persuade Pataki
to veto the proposal.
urge the governor to veto the legislation on his desk,” Blair
Horner of NYPRIG said.
The new proposed districts are the result of months of debate
between Democrat and Republican legislators charged with the
contentious task of figuring out how to divide the state’s
voting regions. Redistricting is necessary this year because
of changes in the census that forced a change in the total
number of districts.
NYPIRG, Common Cause and the league said that the proposed
voting districts are too limiting. In a press release issued
Wednesday, the groups stated that “very few New York State
legislative districts would be truly competitive in terms
of the number of Republicans and Democrats enrolled in proposed
districts.” They said that currently, only 29 of the existing
211 electoral districts can be considered truly competitive
(the groups defined “competitive” as districts that have a
10-percent-or-less differential in the number of enrolled
Republicans and Democrats). Under the redistricting plan,
only 30 of 212 proposed districts can be considered competitive.
The coalition also noted that some observers of the redistricting
process are concerned that the proposed Senate lines break
up ethnic and racial minorities in communities in Nassau County,
which traditionally provide a base of support for the Democratic
party. The reform groups say that the proposed districts are
not “compact as required by the state constitution.”
The groups requested that the governor veto the bill and set
up a bipartisan conference committee to redraft the district
lines. In addition, they urged the governor to support a campaign
finance reform bill.
these two reforms, we could turn around this partisan, dead
democracy,” said Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women
Pataki has not announced a final decision on the bill.
across the nation took a vow of silence last Wednesday (April
10) to commemorate the seventh annual Day of Silence. This
year more than 10 local high schools took part in the event.
Students voluntarily remained silent during the day to take
a stand against discrimination that many gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender students face each day in schools. Instead
of speaking, participants handed out note cards explaining
the reason for their silence. After the school day ended,
students gathered at Albany High School for a breaking-the-silence
rally. Some students created a banner (pictured) expressing
their desire that schools be safe and nondiscriminatory for