“Dan Burke” and “reason” in the same sentence?

Christmas Letter

“Dan Burke” and “reason” in the same sentence?

Once again, it’s election time in Monroe, and among the Democratic candidates largely backed by the Kiryas Joel bloc vote is Councilman Dan Burke, a man now touting himself as “the voice of reason”. The question we have is simple: Are they the voices in his own head?

Burke was among those who demanded that the Monroe Democratic Committee support his bid for re-election simply because he is both a committee member and party affiliated, not whether he deserves the support or serves the best interests of all of the citizens of Monroe rather than just those north of the Quickway. Burke is also famous for an infamous quote directed to the citizens attending a 2014 Town Board meeting at which the topic of KJ Annexation Lead Agency was under discussion. That quote?

“Don’t listen to us, we’re criminals.”

If you say so, Mr. Burke.

Burke’s record shows a fantastic job of selling out the Town of Monroe in trade for a variety of special interests. In the name of transparency, let’s explore that record, and the special interests you’ve represented, including the political powers in Kiryas Joel.

  • Due to Dan Burke’s presence on the Town Board, he was able to angle a position for Elisa Tutini, his domestic partner to manage the Monroe Dial-a-Bus service. But because that position requires passing the civil service exam, and Tutini has not done so, she was hired as a “consultant” without specific experience applicable to that role.
  • Since we mention Elisa Tutini, we should also mention his tireless campaigning for both her failed State Assembly campaign in 2014, as well as her post-election appointment to head the Town of Monroe Planning Board, displacing the existing presiding officer. Neither are positions for which Tutini holds any qualifications (please see our previous article on Elisa Tutini’s background).
  • And in similar fashion to his Town Board colleagues Gerald McQuade and Harley Doles, most of his campaigning has been done on the north side of the Quickway, although Burke has minimally posted campaign signs around the town outside of Kiryas Joel adjacent to United Monroe signs. Several have also been seen laying in the middle of streets, though very few occupy a front lawn other than fellow council members or employees/appointees.
Dan Burke

(Photo courtesy Times Herald-Record)

But let’s also discuss Burke’s voting record and statements, neither of which are different from those of Harley Doles. In fact, if you like Harley Doles, Dan Burke is a puppet likeness. Right down to echoing the exact statements of Doles on topics that include Doles’ constant glowing plans for the Monroe Theater (a.k.a. TMACC), how wonderful the Round Lake paddle boats are for the town, and continual affirmations of Doles’.

And we do mean puppet. Anyone who attends or watches a Town Board meeting will quickly recognize the script for any motion that Harley Doles wants introduced for discussion and vote. Greater than 90% of the time, Burke makes the motion, albeit often misquoted or misstated and requiring correction. However, it’s a darn decent mimicry, and Burke becomes the second mouthpiece to do the bidding for Harley Doles.

As we said, if you like Harley Doles, you’ll love Dan Burke. Where Doles is the sociopath, Burke plays the slightly more affable and doddering elder figure. Neither, though, have any more competence, and under Doles’ guidance, Dan Burke can be greatly misdirected and downright dangerous in any position of power.


It’s the mention of “The voice of reason” as a campaign slogan that is truly troubling.

The voice behind Dan Burke clearly isn’t his own. It’s that of those who have put him up to the task: namely, Kiryas Joel’s political leadership and Monroe Supervisor Harley Doles, and his voting record reflects those allegiances.

  • In July 2014, Dan Burke was one of two votes, along with Harley Doles, to hand over lead agency status to the Village of Kiryas Joel, a move that would have cleared the way for Kiryas Joel to act on its own annexation much more quickly.
  • Before the Monroe Democratic Committee in April 2015, Dan Burke was the lone abstention vote on a Committee resolution that advocated to remove any Democrat affiliated with United Monroe from the committee (see the exhibit here). The remaining votes were unanimous against the resolution. Without the abstention, Burke would have been the only “yes” vote. Yes, this was such an awful resolution that the Monroe Democratic Committee distanced themselves from it as if they were running from a live grenade.
  • Kiryas Joel annexation? Again, Dan Burke backed Harley Doles without very much coherency in explanation. His vote was one of the 4 that approved the annexation (only Dennis McWatters voted against, a largely symbolic move).

Reason? Only if you support the wholesale destruction of the environment for political gain.

The voices, however, are either those in his own head or those of Harley Doles.

Dan Burke

2014 Campaign literature distributed by “voice of reason” Dan Burke (click to enlarge)

Dan Burke is not a “reasonable” individual. The picture at right shows more of Burke doing the bidding of Harley Doles before the 2014 Town Council election, by distributing campaign literature along with Councilman McQuade. He isn’t Harley Doles. But he does anything Harley tells him and votes precisely as directed. The picture below shows Burke and McQuade bracing a cold November Sunday night in Kiryas Joel. And among the literature being distributed were ridiculous and absurd comments about the opposition to Town Board candidate Blanca Johnson, as well as the assertion that United Monroe members believe that thousands of babies will suddenly be born in Kiryas Joel and vote from their cribs. Reason? Reasonable? Ridiculous.

Dan Burke

The Voice of Reason? Dan Burke and Gerry McQuade handing out misleading campaign literature in 2014 in Kiryas Joel.

The only missing parts are marionette strings being pulled, but any intelligent voter can see clearly that Doles is the one pulling those strings.


Which leads us to the real question: Dan Burke may be a voice, not necessarily one of reason or reasonable. Is he a voice that represents the interests of all the residents of Monroe, or only the special interests of Kiryas Joel leaders and land developers? 

Simply? No. He’s a voice of political expediency for the interests of Harley Doles. Or Elisa Tutini. Or anything else that will serve his own political interests or those of his cronies and domestic partner. Dan will do what it takes to win an election, as evidenced by his election to the board in 2011 when he ran against (now) fellow councilman Dennis McWatters. And now that the two are on the Town Board, both McWatters and Burke find it politically expedient to court the KJ vote above all others (see the 2011 election results here). Burke isn’t the voice for Monroe outside Kiryas Joel. Nor is Dennis McWatters, but look at how quickly the Town Board has gone from vilifying McWatters to praising him.

Reason begins with listening to all of the constituents of Monroe, not just the KJ bloc vote without regard for all residents. Reason considers the ramifications and ethics behind actions, not just the political expediency. Reason considers all points of view, it doesn’t just echo the words and phrases spoon-fed by the Town Supervisor. Reason considers the future of the community, its environment, its laws, its ethics, its character, and what it might be beyond our lifetimes.

Dan Burke isn’t the voice of reason. He’s the voice of Kiryas Joel’s political leaders, land developers, and Harley Doles. He is not the voice of Monroe.

Managing Editor