Re-elec­tion bid an­nounce­ment stuns board

At town board meet­ing, Desso ral­lies base, says he’ll run for third term

Albany Times Union - - CAPITAL REGION - By Ken­neth C. Crowe II

Su­per­vi­sor Lou Desso turned Thurs­day’s monthly Town Board meet­ing into a po­lit­i­cal rally to an­nounce he’s run­ning for a third term next year, stun­ning the three other board mem­bers who said they had never seen any­thing like it.

In the wake of a Times Union in­ves­ti­ga­tion, State Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors are ex­am­in­ing Desso for po­ten­tial eth­i­cal lapses con­nected to mat­ters such as a sewer ex­ten­sion to his prop­erty on Stephen Drive, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the probe.

Desso, a Repub­li­can, has in­sisted he did noth­ing wrong and claims he and his fam­ily are vic­tims of po­lit­i­cal at­tacks by town Democrats.

“I wel­come per­son­ally an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by any­one who is look­ing for the truth, not to make po­lit­i­cal at­tacks,” Desso said Thurs­day night. “I’m run­ning again this year be­cause there are still more ac­com­plish­ments that are needed for this town and its res­i­dents.”

He said he was an­nounc­ing his in­ten­tions “ear­lier than usual to let all know that I re­main com­mit­ted and fo­cused on my role as town su­per­vi­sor to de­liver the best ser­vices pos­si­ble for our town.”

Rens­se­laer County Ex­ec­u­tive Steve Mclaugh­lin con­demned Desso on Twit­ter: “Us­ing a town board meet­ing as a cam­paign event to an­nounce re-elec­tion and stack­ing the au­di­ence to build up a frag­ile ego is not only shame­lessly un­eth­i­cal, it’s weak,” he wrote.

Mclaugh­lin and Desso have been at odds since last year’s Repub­li­can pri­mary, when Desso backed for­mer Deputy County Ex­ec­u­tive Chris Meyer in his un­suc­cess­ful bid to take the top job.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, Desso and build­ing in­spec­tor Michael Mi­nor tried to blame the town’s fail­ure to no­tify the county about sewer hookups on county of­fi­cials, charg­ing its de­part­ments had failed to talk to each other.

The county sewer district staff has iden­ti­fied un­re­ported hookups, in­clud­ing the Shoprite store on Route 4. Mi­nor said the county was in­formed in 2011

about the prop­erty be­ing on the tax rolls. The gro­cery store wasn’t built and opened un­til 2017.

Mclaugh­lin tweeted that Desso blam­ing the county for the town’s fail­ure to re­port sewer con­nec­tions “is what passes for logic in ‘Lets (sic) Make a Deal De$$0’ land.”

The mem­bers of the Town Board — which is dom­i­nated by Repub­li­cans — sat stone­faced through Desso’s an­nounce­ment. Board meet­ings are often lightly at­tended, but at least 65 peo­ple turned out for Thurs­day’s ses­sion, many of them Desso sup­port­ers.

“I don’t think this is an ap­pro­pri­ate place for him to be an­nounc­ing his can­di­dacy,” said Coun­cil­woman Mary Frances Sabo, a Demo­crat.

“I was sur­prised, very sur­prised that he would do this,” said Coun­cil­man Joseph Bott, a Repub­li­can who had con­sid­ered run­ning next year for su­per­vi­sor. “Lou is Lou. He’s not go­ing to change.”

“I’ve never seen this,” said Coun­cil­woman Kelly Hoff­man, a Con­ser­va­tive. “I’m go­ing to talk to him about it.”


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