The Rockland County Democratic Committee has appointed their chairwoman Kristen Stavisky to the position of Commissioner of Board of Elections. The move awaits final approval by the County Legislature.
Under state law, each major party has one commissioner in each county, and they are to act as a check and balance to each other. The GOP’s commissioner is Louis Babcock.
Stavisky is the daughter of late Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski and sister of the current Assemblyman of the same name. She is the wife of prominent political consultant Evan Stavisky, whose operation Parkside Group is based out of Queens. Evan’s mother Toby, is a state senator.
Stavisky’s predecessor at the Board of Elections, Ann Marie Kelly, wife of State Supreme Court Judge William Kelly, recently decided to retire after 15 years in the position.
At first Kelly had expressed interest in maintaining her position. In fact, her son, a local lawyer, had lobbied for her candidacy including making a commotion at the Democrats’ Oct. 3 convention.
Kelly’s son and some others said they did not like that Stavisky would hold both the position of Democratic chair and elections commissioner. Critics also noted that recently the Journal News did a feature critical of the Westchester County GOP chairman for running an elections mailings company and bringing in millions in revenue over the last decade-plus.
Similarly, Stavisky’s husband does hundreds of thousands of dollars of business with Democrats in New York every year. Parkside Group has done business done with the Rockland Democrats since at least 1999 and has continued to do so since Kristen Stavisky became chair of the party.
In 2002, Rockland County GOP Chairman Vincent Reda became Board of Elections commissioner and resigned after two months due to the amount of negative feedback he received. He told the Journal News earlier this week that he believed his critics were right and that you cannot “serve two masters.”
However, the practice of holding both positions is not unique, and ultimately the Rockland County Democratic Committee appointed Stavisky to the post this week without objection.
Stavisky said she plans on updating the office and utilizing social media to improve its outreach.