Four top officers of the Columbia County Democratic Committee resigned Thursday morning.
Chair Peter Bujanow announced by email that he, 1st Vice Chair Debby Mayer, 2nd Vice Chair Mark Leggett, and Secretary Angella Pace would step down effective on Friday. Newly-elected Treasurer Dave Berman, elevated just last week by a new faction on the Committee, will stay in place.
With the CCDC being effectively defunct for the past six months, Bujanow was facing a sudden challenge to his leadership, and evidently decided to leave rather than fight. His email resignation alludes to the brewing struggle by saying:
“Due to the shift in sentiment among some of the rank and file of the Columbia County Democratic Committee, we, as Officers of CCDC, are of the view that a change in leadership may rejuvenate the Democratic Party within Columbia County.”
Bujanow was expected to face an effort to remove him as Chair at either a special CCDC meeting called by members, or the next scheduled meeting.
Until last Thursday’s meeting—at which Bujanow was inexplicably absent—the County Dems had not been able to raise a quorum since September, making the conducting of business essentially impossible. Virtually all submmittees were without heads, with only the Town Chairs meeting regularly. As of February, the CCDC had only about $9,000 in its coffers to address some 17 Supervisor races in November, let alone assisting Town Board candidates.
Bujanow also had come under fire this past year for neglecting some local races, and being largely unresponsive to calls and messages.
At that meeting last Thursday, the head of the Town Chairs Keith Kanaga of Ghent made sure to get a quorum of members in the room, and proposed a slate of candidates for the many seats vacant on the Committee, virtually all of which were approved. Berman was also proposed and approved as Treasurer, over some tepid resistance from Mayer (chairing in Bujanow's absence, and appearing somewhat flummoxed by the uncustomary surge of grassroots activity).
Heads of subcommittees were likewise approved to fill those voids, despite some procedural grousing by Stuyvesant’s Lee Jamison. A new Voter Data group was formed, to be headed by Koethi Zan; and Kanaga put forward an initiative to develop a new platform of issues for candidates to rely upon. Kanaga now appears to be the frontrunner to replace Bujanow.
(Full disclosure: Yours Truly was among those approved to fill vacancies on the Committee, and will be representing Taghkanic for the remainder of the existing term.)