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Gottmann v Sloat FCP Findings

Gottmann v Sloat FCP Findings

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Published by Dennis Yusko

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Published by: Dennis Yusko on Aug 30, 2013
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07/08/2014

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 For Immediate Release Contact: Rev. Maurice Drown August 29, 2013 FCP President (Tel. 462-8787)Findings in the Complaint of  Steven H. Gottmann V Elwood A. Sloat Complaint 2013-1
Fair Campaign Practices for the Capital Region, Inc. (FCP) held a hearing on August 28, 2013 to consider a complaint made by Steven H. Gottmann against Elwood A.Sloat. Both are candidates in the Republican Primary Election for the Malta TownJustice in Saratoga County. Present were hearing panel members: Rev. MauriceDrown, Harriet Warnock-Graham, Dorothy Paul, and Chairperson Joan Elliott andCoordinator Barry Leibson. Mr. Gottmann, represented by Nick Wilock, Town of Malta, Republican vice chairperson, and Mr. Sloat were present. Gary Palmer, afor
mer town justice in another county, also was present on Mr. Sloat’s behalf.
 1.
 
Mr. Steven Gottmann
complained that Mr. Elwood Sloat’s election lawn signs
misidentify the position he is running for referring to
judge
rather than
town justice
”, the office
both are seeking. Mr. Sloat countered that any
judicial official presiding in town justice courts is addressed as “judge” and
this practice is used on an official New York State Unified Court Systemwebsite and elsewhere.2.
 
Mr. Gottmann said the website contact is JudgeSloat.comwhich wrongly infers that Mr. Sloat is a judge and possibly an attorney whenhe is a retired New York State trooper. Mr. Sloat said the website is a contact listing and anyone going to the website sees no misleading material about hiscredentials.3.
 
Mr. Gottmann also objects to election lawn signs that fail to say
elect 
or
“vote
 
for”
the position and as a result might make voters believe falsely Mr.Sloat is an incumbent.
Mr. Sloat said the “Vote” in front of his name would not 
 imply incumbency.
FINDING: NO UNFAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICE: The term “judge” or “town justice” is
interchangeable, as evidenced by the New York State Unified Court System website,Criminal Procedure Law of New York State, and common public usage. The voter isnot misled that there is any position other than this at the town level, regardless of whether judge or town justice is used. Consequently, the usage does not violate
Principle 1 that the candidate will conduct a campaign “openly, fairly, and truthfully”or Principle 4 that the candidate will “not use, permit the use of, or condone the use
of any campaign material or advertisement that misrepresents, distorts, or
otherwise falsifies a fact or facts regarding either the candidate or an opponent”.
 

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