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County Republicans to interview pair interested in filling WROTB board of directors post

By Mike Pettinella

The Genesee County Republican Committee on Thursday night is scheduled to interview two candidates interested in filling the vacancy on the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. board of directors.

Committee Chair Richard Siebert, who stepped down from the WROTB director position after learning of significant structural and voting changes to the board, said he and the seven other committee members have set up a meeting for 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Old County Courthouse.

“There are two people that reached out to me that are interested in being the next OTB director,” Siebert said this morning. “The process will be that the Republican Committee will meet tomorrow night and interview the two people who asked for our endorsement.”

Siebert said the candidates are former County Judge Charles Zambito of Elba and Batavian Fred Gundell, who serves as a county election inspector.

“Our purpose is to interview them and then, hopefully, pass a recommendation to our county legislature, which would then also interview them and do the appointment. It should take place very soon,” Siebert added.

See also: WROTB President seeks to put issues in rearview mirror, praises employees for achieving record revenues  

Siebert served as Genesee County’s representative on the WROTB for 29 years. In a May 3 story on The Batavian, Siebert blasted the action by New York State leaders, calling the move, “a blatant effort to take over the jobs that we have at Batavia Downs that are appointed by their merit and not by political affiliation.”

Speaking today, he said that he heard that three other directors also resigned – Paul Lattimore Jr. (Cayuga County), Thomas Wamp (Livingston County) and Richard Ricci (Seneca County) – but speculated that others would be reappointed by their legislatures.

The Batavian confirmed that Susan May has been reappointed by the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors and that Edward Morgan is expected to be reappointed next Tuesday by the Orleans County Board of Supervisors.

Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said that the local governing body is anticipating the Republican Party Committee’s recommendation.

“This is a time when all the counties are all getting reorganized,” she said. “Some have already placed the person back on the board of directors, and others have yet to do it.”

Asked if there has been any talk of a legal challenge to the changes, Stein said, “Not yet.”

“Here’s the problem at this point. There has been no harm caused to the county because nothing has really changed yet. So, until there's been a change that harms us, we are unsure that we have any standing.”

The previous framework of the board was set up by a “Home Rule” law about 50 years ago – giving each municipality that benefits from WROTB one vote.

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