MAYVILLE -Charges against the county Democratic election commissioner stemming from a 2010 state Assembly race have been dismissed.
The two election law misdemeanors against Norman Green were waived last month by Cattaraugus County Family and Surrogate Court Judge Michael Nenno - ending a nearly two-year dispute.
Nenno dismissed the case due to a lack of evidence to sustain the charges, the Cattaraugus County District Attorney's office said. Prosecutors have decided not to appeal the decision.
"I never doubted the outcome," Green said to the OBSERVER. "I've never had a problem with anyone looking over my shoulder. I operate in a transparent manner. As such, I had no doubt what the outcome would be."
The charges stem from the 2010 election between Andy Goodell and Nancy Bargar, both of whom were vying for the 150th state Assembly District seat formerly held by Bill Parment.
Chautauqua County Court Judge John Ward recused himself from the criminal case, which was later reassigned to Nenno.
To officially drop out of the election, Parment had to officially decline the endorsement of both the Democratic and Independence parties; without the declinations, no candidate seeking office could hold those lines on the ballot.
On the last day for filing, Parment signed both declinations in Green's office. The declination for the Democratic Party was then filed immediately with the Board of Elections.
The other, however, was mailed by Green back to himself at the Board of Elections and opened six days later. Goodell eventually gave up attempts to secure the Independence Party's endorsement.
Goodell said Green purposely held onto Parment's declination, which eventually went to Bargar but was later stripped after a civil ruling by County Supreme Court Justice James Dillon in September 2010.
Dillon favored on the side of Goodell, noting that Green intentionally withheld paperwork.
"The method by which the envelope was addressed, delivered and removed from the mail and left unopened on the commissioner's (Norm Green's) desk clearly indicates that at the time of the mailing the commissioner did not intend the document to be processed in a timely manner," the justice said in his written decision.
Green said he mailed the declination to himself to avoid getting directly involved with another political party. However, during testimony, the commissioner admitted he was in error by allowing the document to sit unopened on his desk.
"I did things that I've always done," he said. "I always mailed things back to the office. It was my way of staying above reproach. ... It's interesting I got caught in a web of something I try very hard to stay out of."
When contacted this week, Goodell said he was unaware of the dismissal. The Republican and former county executive said while he was part of the civil case against Green, he was not active "in any manner" in the criminal proceedings.
The misdemeanor charges were a violation of subsections 5 and 7 of election law section 17-102. According to the County Court Chief Clerk's Office, the charges are described as misdemeanors "at or in connection with primary elections, caucuses, enrollment in political parties, committees and conventions."
Asked how it felt to have the issue resolved, Green said, "It's just another day in the office. I didn't have a party; I didn't go around telling people. I've been in court at least a dozen times. It was another court case. It's part of the job.
"I run my office in a transparent manner. I don't try to dodge any bullets."