Oh, Look, Something Happened

The firing of the director of the Monroe County Crime Lab, Janet Anderson-Seaquist, has Maggie Brooks on the defensive.  Louise Slaughter’s office released a statement linking the firings to two scandals with the Airport director and the ROBUTRAD incident. Brooks’ weak defense is that her opponent is “playing politics”.

Since, as Clarke pointed out yesterday, every peep from the Brooks campaign has been about Brooks’ record in Monroe County rather than her position on national issues, it’s pretty weak sauce to complain when your opponent raises questions about trouble that happened on your watch. And Brooks’ statement that she fired Anderson-Seaquist the moment that she got the Inspector General’s report just raises the question of why it took a state investigation for Brooks to find out that her crime lab director told a pretty serious lie and mishandled a fair amount of evidence.

As News 10 points out, a California court ruling in 2011, a year after Anderson-Seaquist was appointed, was pretty scathing about Anderson-Seaquist “[making] things up as she went along”. Making stuff up becomes a lifelong habit, so this report makes me wonder whether the hiring process was mishandled by the Brooks administration.

Rachel Barnhart has some more details on the genesis of the Inspector General’s report, and points to this D&C piece on disagreements between the Crime Lab and the DA’s office. She also notes that defense attorneys approved of Anderson-Seaquist’s changes at the crime lab. Maybe Rachel has other information from her sources, but it sounds like the DA’s disagreement on some evidence was legitimate, and that the DA’s use of an outside testing lab proved they were right in at least one instance.

As with the firing of the last Airport Director, Brooks handled this one quickly and cleanly. Unless some new evidence comes up, I doubt this will have a major political impact on its own, since it doesn’t involve cigars, strippers or years of blatant political favors. But it does add one more to the list of personnel issues under Brooks’ watch, and that list was already long enough for Slaughter to name it as a serious issue this Fall.

(Photo by Clarke Condé.)

7 thoughts on “Oh, Look, Something Happened

  1. The evidence leads to the conclusion that Maggie Brooks employs unethical people to manage public agencies. Who will be the next one that she’ll be forced to fire?

    • I predict that Brooks will develop a keen interest in national issues, specifically in abortion, gay marriage and welfare cheats.

  2. This post and the reaction by Democrats to the firing (i.e., another Brooks “scandal”) tend to illustrate how little the Democrats have to offer on policy and how unimaginative they are.

    For the past few years, the Democrats have beaten the “Brooks scandal” drum relentlessly. It has had vitually no effect on local races. Why? Because most people realize that in an organization as large as County government, there are going to be bad actors. The question is, did Ms. Brooks endorse or ignore the bad behavior. The answer is no.

    Moreover, its clear that the Monroe County electorate appreciates and endorses Ms. Brooks governance. As long as local Democrats continue to focus on faux scandals and fail to offer a compelling alternative vision for governance, they will keep losing. As a Republican and Brooks supporter, I say ‘stay the course, Democrats’.

    • It appears that the Brooks campaign is taking your advice, focusing on Maggie’s record in the county, and hoping that she can get away without endorsing the national Republican platform publicly in Rochester, or even mentioning it. They seem to believe that a track record of wins in low-turnout elections, against underfinanced little names, means that she’ll win an election against a well-financed big name opponent. We’ll see how that goes in the coming months.

    • John, you’ve got it partially right, though I suppose if the result is consistently loosing elections it doesn’t really matter. It’s not that local Democrats lack imagination or solid alternative policy ideas, it’s that they have for some reason set aside their imagination and policy ideas in favor of a losing campaign strategy that has for recent memory ONLY focused on scandals, be they real or fabricated. That losing strategy doesn’t come from the numerous Democrats that have for years developed solid policy alternatives, it comes from on-high at the local Democratic Party. You are absolutely right when you say that Democrats will continue to loose local elections if they stay the course.
      However, like Rotten said, this is a different kind of election. Not only plenty of money, nearly 100% name recognition and a compelling national interest, but outside strategists. The degree to which they influence not only the messaging, but the craft of each campaign, makes this a truly interesting race.

  3. I’m not involved with Maggie’s campaign, so my views are just my views, but I tend to agree that her campaign will eventually have to take some position on a number of national issues. Still, I think you’d agree that the local electorate is perhaps a little bit better educated and sophisticated than average. I don’t think either candidate in this race wants to look like they are 100% wedded to their respective national party’s orthodoxy. I am probably a bit biased, but I think that’s a bigger problem for Louise than Maggie.

    • From my admittedly a bit biased perch, I can’t imagine Slaughter running away from the Democratic party. She’s solidly of the left, and is comfortable with those positions, and articulates them regularly. This is a fairly urban, liberal district, especially by the standards of the current Republican Party, which has moved pretty far to the right. I don’t see a political need for Slaughter to adjust her positions to get elected.

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