Do your job, Steve

Update: I have been informed that Mr. Cornwell was ordered by a judge to step aside in response to a filing by Ms. Preston’s attorney. I offer my apologies to the District Attorney for misinterpreting his actions.

In New York, as in many states, county district attorneys are elected, not appointed. The reason they are is because they represent the people of their counties, not the county governments. Here in Broome County we are faced with a DA who refuses to do his job when his fellow Republicans or their families are accused of wrongdoing.

Last Mothers’ Day, little four-year old Samrya Oakley was killed by the recklessly driving brother-in-law of a county legislator. County officials tried to bury the case until public outcry forced District Attorney Cornwell to agree to put the matter before a grand jury.  More than five months later, he has yet to do so. He claims that he is just too busy with other cases. Meanwhile the state DMV has revoked the license of the driver who continues to operate his SUV with impunity.

Yesterday, County Executive Debbie Preston admitted that for more than a year she used a credit card issued to the Town of Conklin, where she had been supervisor, for personal purchases even after she was elected County Executive. Besides being improper and illegal, this raises the issue of possible tax evasion if she used the Town’s sales tax exemption (she claims she paid the sales tax but provided no proof). Mr. Cornwell had already announced last week, without explanation, that he was recusing himself from any cases involving the County Executive. Instead he plans to saddle the already pressed taxpayers of our county with the cost of a special prosecutor. Why? What in his relationship with Ms. Preston so compromises him that he cannot do his job?

Nothing erodes public faith in government like cronyism and political favoritism. Mr. Cornwell’s behavior so far does not inspire confidence. If he cannot, or will not, do the job to which we have elected him, he should step down and let up chose someone who will.  

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