BY JOEL GROSSBARTH
Rockland’s Republican Election Commissioner Louis C. “Butch” Babcock has filed a lawsuit in Rockland County Supreme Court seeking to keep his current job. The case of Matter of Babcock v. Giblin, et al., was filed against Patricia Giblin, the nominee to replace Babcock as Election Commissioner as well as Lawrence Garvey, the Rockland County Republican chairman, The Republican Party Executive Committee, the clerk of The Rockland County Legislature and the Rockland Republican caucus of the Legislature.
Babcock alleges that the Rockland Republican Executive Committee refused to follow their own rules and bylaws by not allowing the County Republican Committee to vote on nominations for election commissioner. The Executive Committee made the recommendation to nominate Patricia Giblin without allowing Babcock to be considered for nomination.
The lawsuit further alleges that Lawrence Garvey “rebuffed inquiries regarding the position during the re-organization meeting and deviated from the precedent and practice of said committee for the purpose of usurping the rights and responsibilities of the duly elected and appointed committee members.” Furthermore, according to the lawsuit, Babcock alleges that Garvey would allow any nomination except Babcock. The papers quote Garvey as stating that, “any registered Republican in Rockland County was eligible (for Election Commissioner) except Butch Babcock.” As a result of Babcock’s name not in nomination, the Executive Committee nominated Patricia Giblin as the Republican Election Commissioner.
The lawsuit seeks to prevent the Clerk of The County Legislature Laurence O. Toole and the County Legislature as a whole from approving the nomination until a hearing can be held to determine whether any improper actions took place. Any action by the County Legislature on the nomination for election commissioner is currently stayed pending a determination of the claims.
The matter has been referred to Hon. Alan Scheinkman in Westchester County Supreme Court for determination of Babcock’s claims. Babcock’s trial lawyer, Lawrence Weissmann, Esq. stated that a hearing and/or determination of the lawsuit should be done expeditiously since Babcock’s current tenure as Election Commissioner expires on December 31, 2016. Although Babcock himself filed the lawsuit, Weissmann will handle any trial or hearing mandated by Judge Scheinkman.
The New York State Constitution mandates that each county within the state have two election commissioners, one Democrat and one Republican. Upon nomination by the respective party, the County Legislature approves the appointments.