Questions Raised by Member of Greece Republican Committee
A member of the Greece Republican Committee is calling out his GOP leader by saying he's improperly stacking the committee with family members and friends. Monroe County Legislator Jeff McCann called Wednesday for a special meeting to address his concerns. He believes the process for how members are added to the committee can cause corruption within the Republican Party as they head into another election year.
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Monroe County Legislator and Greece Republican Committee member Jeff McCann is calling into question the new membership of more than thirty people to the committee.
"A lot of the people added are connected to certain political figures in our committee."
Most of the new members are related to, or are friends with committee leader Jerry Helfer and the county's GOP leader Bill Reilich. He believes all were added without the full committee's authorization.
"When people see underhanded tactics like this in attempt to stack a political committee in order to consolidate power among one or two people, it's not good for those efforts. It's not good for our community and it definitely isn't good for our party."
McCann, who is interested in running for Greece's town supervisor next year, believes the move will impact who is on the ballot for the party.
"I think if this is allowed to stand the process will be corrupted."
In response to McCann's concerns, Helfer says adding the members is his attempt to rebuild and strengthen the committee going into next year's election. He says the committee has more than three-hundred vacancies that need to be filled.
"One of my important responsibilities as the Town Leader is to grow the committee and bolster its ranks with the numbers of individuals volunteers that we have. In order to do that, I turn first to the people I know and the values that I trust," Helfer said.
Helfer is also considering a run for Greece Town Supervisor. He says doing this is in the best interest of the party, not his own.
"I don't think it works in my favor, rather than, the more hands on deck the better, whether I'm the candidate or someone else in the candidate."
There are nine races in the Town of Greece next year. Reilich says having enough members on the committee is their motivation. He says the new members were properly recruited and appointed before being endorsed by the County Republican Executive Committee.
"I can tell you it is not improper under the rules of the Republican committee as chairman, I can assure you that," Reilich said. "For his method of announcing, he's questioning something by going to the press and putting out a press release. It's unparalleled."
"My concern is that if this is allowed to stand it will bring the integrity of the Republican designation process into question," McCann said.
Helfer says because of the election season, there has not been any committee meetings since August. He says there may not be a special meeting because of these concerns, but the next meeting will be after the holidays in January.