Supporters of 11 people expelled from the City of Newburgh Democratic Committee because of a party split in last year’s mayoral election have released a set of photos and short descriptions of the expelled members to protest what they feel were unjust “disloyalty” charges lodged by the committee’s chairman and ultimately affirmed by the Democrats’ county leaders.
The city’s Democratic chairman is Jonathan Jacobson, the former longtime head of the Orange County Democratic Committee and a losing candidate for Newburgh mayor last year. He beat Mayor Judy Kennedy in a Democratic primary last September, but she went on to defeat him in a general election by running on the Independence Party line. The campaign caused a bitter division among Newburgh Democrats and provoked “disloyalty” accusations even before the election.
Jacobson later brought party-disloyalty charges against 11 committee members who supported Kennedy instead of him. One, City Councilwoman Karen Mejia, quit her committee seat in disgust before a hearing on the disloyalty charges in May. The county Democrats’ executive committee removed the other 10 in June, affirming the recommendations of a party hearing panel. All are free to run again in September to try to reclaim their committee seats.
Here are the expelled committee members and the descriptions of them supporters provided this week, accompanied by a statement saying that “these people worked tirelessly to help Newburgh move towards a positive future” and calling their removal “short sighted, arrogant bullying.”
Dr. Benilda Jones, CEO, Imaging Success Group, Inc; Chair, City of Newburgh Human Rights Commission
Kippy Boyle, Member, Conservation Advisory Council
Fernando Cardona, Retired IBM Executive
Mark C. Carnes, Professor of History, Columbia University; Member, Newburgh Board of Ethics
Lisa Daily, Retired teacher, Chairman of Newburgh Planning Board, Chairman of Land Bank
Deborah Danzy, Senior Community Health Promoter, Planned Parenthood
Karen Eberle‐McCarthy, retired Professor of Spanish, Mount St. Mary College; Officer of Latinos Unidos, Member Downing Park Planning Committee
Brian Flannery, 16‐year Member, Newburgh Democratic Committee
Mary Elin Korchinsky, Retired NECSD Teacher, Community Volunteer
Karen Mejia, Councilwoman, City of Newburgh Human Rights Commissioner, mother
Ramona Monteverde, Director of Operations, Safe Harbor; Member, Newburgh Planning Board
(Update: Jacobson responded in an interview on Friday that the Democratic committee members were “duty-bound” to support the party’s nominee after the primary or else keep quiet. Those who couldn’t do so and wanted to remain active for the general election should have quit their committee seats and started their own organization, he said. As for the civic-mindedness of the expelled members, he said: “There’s no question that they’re all part of the community. Everybody’s part of the community – that’s not the point.”)