Monroe Democrats withdraw endorsement of Councilman Dan Burke
In a move that was nothing short of surprising, the Monroe Democratic Committee dealt a no-confidence vote for the Democratic Party candidate for Monroe Town Council, Dan Burke, releasing a strongly worded rebuke of his policies.
The position statement cited Burke’s vote in favor of the annexation of 164 acres by the Village of Kiryas Joel, the expensive lawsuits against the Town by several parties and Orange County caused by that decision, Burke’s environmental record, and reckless fiscal policies of Burke and the Town Board.
The rebuke is striking, as it represents a clear division between the party and the candidate — specifically, Dan Burke — running on the Democratic line. The distance is so clear in statement that it portrays Burke as a candidate so unsavory that the Democratic Committee has effectively absolved all of its members, and effectively anyone voting the Democratic line, of support Dan Burke in the November election for Monroe Town Council.
The announcement was posted via the Committee’s Facebook page on Tuesday, October 27th, containing the original text of the platform. Within hours, it was removed, but not before several people could capture the text of the platform. As a public service, we have provided the complete statement here in its entirety. It is also available as a downloadable PDF. While this website has provided its own analysis of Dan Burke as a candidate, we will provide the platform without additional comment:
(Original platform text below)
At the October meeting of the Town of Monroe Democratic Committee, the following platform was adopted.
We embrace the defense of our physical environment as one of the fundamental principles of the Democratic Party. We are opposed to changes in density that are not reflected specifically in the Comprehensive Plan of the Town of Monroe. The Town has the responsibility to be the stewards of our precious environmental resources, which include but are not limited to road capacity, water quality, sewer capacity, drainage control and flooding prevention, and the beauty of our tree cover, all of which contribute to the quality of life enjoyed by all of our residents. We think that inappropriate changes to density are a betrayal of the trust held by our elected officials and damage all communities and villages within Monroe.
We embrace the spirit of democracy in involving as many different people and interest groups as possible in the entire community in its governance, with input and responsibilities widely shared, and for that reason, as well as for the prevention of abuse, we are opposed to all nepotism in government. We believe that only one person in a household should hold a town office or serve in an official town capacity and that close relatives of currently serving elected officials should not be appointed to positions—paid or unpaid—in local government.
We endorse the hiring of local residents. Qualified town residents should be hired first. We think that all positions should be advertised in local media and that appropriate civil service criteria should apply.
We believe that the Town of Monroe should adopt the ethics laws, rules, definitions, and procedures used by the Orange County government and should enforce them rigorously.
We believe that the spirit of democracy is served best by the open exchange of ideas between office holders and citizens and endorse public comment as a feature of every meeting of the Town Board.
We believe that the widespread participation in government is enhanced by a larger number of local citizens serving as paid employees, and hence we are opposed to any individual holding more than one paid position.
We have a strong commitment to the excellence of the Monroe-Woodbury school system and believe that its independence and integrity should be preserved and supported.
We endorse policies that are fiscally responsible to all taxpayers. The Town Board has a fiduciary responsibility to all town residents. We favor inter-municipal cooperation between all of the governmental entities in the town, and between our town and the neighboring towns. We believe that services, equipment, resources, and personnel should be consolidated and shared wherever possible to enhance the life experience and reduce the tax burden on the residents.
We expect fair and ethical conduct by the candidates. This means that candidates tell the truth, take responsibility for actions, listen, and use tax dollars appropriately. Candidates must accept accountability for their actions. Accountability means that public officials are answerable for their actions and that there is redress when duties and commitments are not met.
Several members expressed forcefully their disappointment that one Democratic Town Board candidate, Daniel J. Burke, had voted in favor of annexation of 164 acres of town land by the Village of Kiryas Joel. They felt that this vote violated the first plank of the platform and that it was fiscally irresponsible in that it needlessly embroiled the Town of Monroe in an expensive lawsuit in which it was opposed by all of its neighbors as well as by the Orange County government. Members also expressed their dissatisfaction with the failure of the Town Board to pass a Tree Code or any other ordinance to protect the environment, the fact that Dan Burke and his significant other were the chief offenders in dollar terms of the nepotism practiced by the current Town Board, the manipulation of the town planning and zoning appeal boards for political purposes, the paranoia that underlies the unnecessary and expensive security at our town meetings, and the failure of the Town Board to engage with the citizens in a free flow of public comment. The following resolution was proposed and adopted: “The Town of Monroe Democratic Party withdraws its endorsement of Daniel J. Burke for the Town Board and absolves all members of the committee from any obligation to support him in the general election in November.”
Thomas M. Kemnitz
Chairman, Town of Monroe Democratic Committee