Will The Real Meagan Galligan Please Stand Up?
Sullivan County is small so Dems and Republicans have long ago learned how to coexist. Even during the past four years when divisions have bubbled to the surface.
But if you are registered with either party, there's an expectation as a candidate that you will promote the values and policy priorities of that party. And if you disagree with those values, you should change party registration.
Retired County Judge Frank LaBuda did just that when he switched from Dem to Republican this year. Even if pundits say he did it to run for District Attorney against Acting DA Meagan Galligan, he did say he was fed up with policies of Governor Andrew Cuomo that were not in line with his values.
And, yes, it's more than likely that the Democratic establishment in Sullivan slammed the door in his face and told LaBuda that Galligan was their candidate. Dems did that, it seems, without any real commitments to that party from Galligan.
Instead of the June 23 Republican Primary, it's my opinion that there should have been a Democratic primary between the two former chief assistant district attorneys who were both registered Dems.
But Galligan didn't change party to Republican and you have to question her commitment to Democrats in Sullivan or to the party's progressive values.
As a registered Democrat, though, she is towing policy positions and values of Republicans after being cross endorsed by Republicans - because she was Jim Farrell's protege and #2 in his DA's Office.
As a registered Democrat, whose first allegiance should be to that party, Galligan for example, should not be campaigning regularly with Republican Michael Martucci., who is trying to blame incumbent Dem State Senator Jen Metzger for a crime wave in New York City. To read Martucci's campaign materials, you'd think Metzger was either governor or who was the primary sponsor of bail reform. She was not and has tried to fix it - supposedly with Galligan's help.
Aside from Galligan campaigning with Martucci more than once in recent months, she is now being viewed by many in the community as the puppet of Sheriff Michael Schiff and Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, who run the Republican Party unofficially in Sullivan.
Schiff and Chaboty helped put a disgraced judge in the County Attorney seat and his wife, Corrine, in the Sheriff's Office, despite 10 other candidates for the account coordinator job. They pushed Legislature Chair Rob Doherty to engineer what was nearly a covert takeover of the 911 Control Center without any public hearing or public input before The SullivanTimes exposed it.
The pair also were largely responsible for colossal mismanagement when it came to the new Sullivan County Jail, costing taxpayers millions of dollars beyond what it should have cost. The pair's treatment of certain inmates in that jail during the height of the Covid-19 crisis remains a giant question mark based on evidence gathered by the American Civil Liberties Union just a few short months ago that was revealed in a recent lawsuit in which the County and State prevailed.
When swastikas were painted in Cochecton and Narrowsburg one year ago, the Sheriff's Office was silent - as was then-DA Farrell.
And when it came to the more recent Black Lives Matter movement, embraced by most Democrats as a legitimate demonstration about racism in America, Galligan could only muster a statement that she agreed with what another local leader said at a community barbecue.
Perhaps most disturbing, though, is that Schiff/Chaboty/Farrell warmly embraced The Oathkeepers, a far right militia group that has spread bigotry and debunked conspiracy theories. It once was a Second Amendment organization that lost its way. Is that what Galligan wants to be associated with as a Democrat? As a DA of any party? As president of the Sullivan County Bar Association?
The jury is out on what kind of lead prosecutor Galligan would be in Sullivan as long as her decision-making is unduly influenced by Schiff/ Chaboty. She has learned, for better or worse, from Farrell and his former boss, Steve Lungen.
We got an indication of her judgment late last year when she went to the podium to announce the arrest of three Village of Liberty public works employees. That case reportedly is no slam dunk to say the least - and the prosecution resulted in some very serious unintended consequences. Stay tuned for updates on that case.
Farrell had a friends and family plan that allowed certain people of influence in this County - most notably Isaac Kantrowitz - to escape prosecution while the former DA often recommended ridiculously harsh sentences for non violent young offenders. Lungen is the defense attorney as Kantrowitz faces the possibility of a grand jury indictment in coming weeks.
Voters in November have a right to know if Galligan supports Republican policies and values or Democratic policies and values. Whatever side you are on, they are markedly different.
And whether she has the courage to sever ties from the old boy network that remains a stench across the great County.
- Rich Klein/Editor/Publisher
Note: Galligan, above, accepts endorsement form Michael Gagliardi. Below is
how Gagliardi feels about the Confederate Flag and liberals.