Killen resigns and is reappointed to same legislature seat

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express

YATES COUNTY – At the May 10 meeting of the Yates County Legislature, former Legislator Patrick Killen was reappointed to the seat he had resigned from just 11 days before. Despite rumors, the matter was procedural rather than for any particular transgression or scandal. Here is the letter of resignation, dated April 14, to Yates County Clerk Lois Hall:

Yates County Legislator Patrick Killen

Dear Mrs. Hall,

We are living in a somewhat precarious time with a pandemic. Over the last several months, I have merged time earned in NYS Teacher's and Employee's Retirement systems, and now find myself with over 30 years of service credit, and over 55 years of age.

In conversations with my wife about how best to secure my family financially if anything were to happen to me, we decided I should file for NYS retirement and select survivor benefit options as soon as possible.

New York State laws require that I have a break in service to file for retirement. Therefore, reluctantly, and pursuant to NYS Public Officer's Law, I hereby tender my resignation of the elected position of Yates County Legislator to County Clerk, Lois Hall, effective 11:59 pm on Thursday April 29th, 2021.

According to Doug Paddock, chairman of the Yates County Legislature, the procedure for Killen's retirement was followed by Yates County's own procedure for appointing someone to the remainder of his term. Acting with advice from County Attorney Scott Falvey, the practice and precedent was for the Legislature to approach both local Republican and Democratic Party committees to nominate candidates for the legislature to consider. Legislators are also allowed to make their own nominations individually.

The Republicans nominated Killen, who is up for re-election in November. The Democrats nominated K. Dixon Zorovich, their candidate who was defeated for the seat in 2020, and is on the ballot again for 2021. No individual nominations were made by any legislators.

With a 100% Republican membership, the outcome of the legislature's vote was a forgone conclusion; Killen was appointed by a unanimous tally.

Since then, several members of the Democratic Party have raised objections to Killen's appointment calling it "a loophole," "one party rule," "gaming the system" and "backroom politics." But given the political party demographics of District 1 in particular and Yates County in general, plus the mundane nature of Killen's resignation, there was no reasonable expectation of a different outcome.