WATERTOWN — Republican election commissioner Jude R. Seymour hasn’t given up on Jefferson County paying for his legal bills associated with which mayoral candidates should be on the November ballot. He’s submitted an $8,912.50 bill for his legal arguments involving whether mayoral candidates Cody J. Horbacz and Allison I. Crossman should be allowed on the Nov. 5 ballot.
County Attorney David J. Paulsen had determined that the county would not pay for Mr. Seymour’s attorney, Joe Burns, Williamsville, for the case that was argued in state Supreme Court on Aug. 7.
Mr. Seymour retained his attorney because Mr. Paulsen represented Democratic election commissioner Babette M. Hall in the matter.
Ms. Hall and Mr. Seymour disagreed on how many candidates should be on the Nov. 5 ballot after Councilman Horbacz and Mrs. Crossman finished in a second-place tie in the June 25 primary.
On Aug. 7, State Supreme Court Judge James P. McClusky ruled from the bench that both candidates should move on to the November election.
Mr. Seymour submitted the $8.900 bill to the county on Aug. 19.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be that much,” Jefferson County Chairman Scott A. Gray said.
Mr. Seymour has not heard back from the county about the bill, so he hasn’t decided his next move.
“I’ll reevaluate after 30 days,” he said, although he acknowledged that he might take the county to court over the matter.
He’s waiting to decide whether he’ll file an Article 78 proceeding — a proceeding that allows a plaintiff to oppose an action taken by a municipality — to make the county pay the $8,900 bill.
Ms. Hall contended that Councilman Horbacz and Mrs. Crossman should join top vote-getter Jeffrey M. Smith on the ballot of the Nov. 5 election, while Mr. Seymour determined only two candidates should be on the ballot despite the tie.
Mr. Gray said only the Republican commissioner had not advocated for all three candidates to run this fall.
“It was a bad investment,” he said.
Judge McClusky determined that the intent of the city’s 1920 nonpartisan primary election law would have the two second-place candidates appear on the ballot in case of a tie.
Mrs. Crossman and Councilman Horbacz finished in a second-place tie with 597 votes each in the June 25 primary, while Mr. Smith had the most votes with 837. Cliff G. Olney III ran far behind with 365 votes and is mounting a write-in campaign.
The matter held up campaigning for the two candidates for weeks while it made it through the court process. They’re back on the campaign trail, however.
The issue revolved around a reading of the city nonpartisan election law, which says “the board of elections shall certify under the hand of its secretary or commissioners the names of the persons who received the largest and next largest number of votes for mayor.”
In a related matter, the county and city still need to resolve whether the city should pay $9,300 for the costs associated with the June 25 primary, Mr. Gray said.
The city has refused to pay it.