Tuesday, May 15, 2018

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Coviello confirmed as Dutchess veterans affairs director, after contentious debate

Coviello, lower left, thanks colleagues after his confirmation

POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County Legislator Marc Coviello was warmly received in last week’s committee meetings, as the nominee to be the county’s next director of veterans’ affairs. 

Things were different during Monday night’s monthly legislature meeting. 

During public comment, several veterans strongly supported Coviello, a veteran with a Purple Heart, for the position.

Democrats, however, raised concerns, alluding to what they said was late input from the previous director, Nelson Rivera.

Following a 20-minute Democratic caucus, Minority Leader Hannah Black said she came to the meeting prepared to vote for Coviello but could not after what was heard in caucus.

“It’s hard to ignore these concerns,” Black said.  “I’m not going to go through them publicly.  It would actually be political to vote ‘yes’ tonight than it would be to postpone this vote to ensure that we are taking a wider range of the veteran community into consideration to perform our due diligence.”

Other Democrats cited what they heard from Rivera, but no one revealed what that was.

Republican Will Truit said politics apparently was suddenly playing into the deliberations.

“The fact that there was a phone call that Legislator Black just said was made late tonight in their caucus and Legislator Mundt said was in the Democratic caucuses tonight and we have not heard anything on our side, so, I mean this is clearly politics,” Truitt said

Coviello was nominated by County Executive Marcus Molinaro. 

Before the debate, county Director of Human Resources Steven Rector said Coviello meets the minimum requirements and that the appointment, on that basis, was in order.

Democrat Francena Amparo said “minimum requirements” is not what the county’s veterans deserve.

A motion by Democrats to table the vote was defeated.

Coviello, a Republican, was confirmed on a party-line 15 to 10 vote.

 


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