ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) — Things flared up as legislators voted on whether to reappoint the Monroe County public defender, some accusing him of rushing in to rescue people from the former county executive’s administration.
Minority leader Vincent Felder speaking out at a county legislature meeting Tuesday.
“It’s really not fair to the process,” said Vincent Felder, a Democrat Monroe County legislator representing the 22nd District.
In question were four positions created by the Public Defender.
Felder says those hired were people from the previous administration who were set to lose their jobs and he questions whether it was fair to not open the positions to the public. Felder argued not doing so can remove opportunities from people of color.
“Fact is we are trying to deal with structural racism and institutional racism and being locked out of positions. Also the idea of political patronage, where he went and grabbed people for jobs without anyone else having the opportunity to get to them,” said Felder.
Monroe County Public Defender Timothy Donaher says the positions were created as part of a grant and it’s under his authority to create certain positions.
“Those positions were created in discussion that I had with my primary funder called the office of … and legal services in developing the year two of the five-year grant that the county received in August for 38 million dollars,” said Timothy Donaher, Monroe County Public Defender.
This led to a discussion around diversity and inclusion, which ultimately both democrats, republicans, and Donaher agreed deserves attention.
“I will stand with Mr. Donaher, as well as colleagues on the other side to make sure that if Mr. Donaher says that he needs a diversity officer in his office, that that happens,” said Karla F. Boyce, a Repulican Monroe County legislator representing the 5th District.
The vote to re-appoint Donaher to the County Public Defender positions did pass, in a 21 to 4 vote, with one excused.