Stephanie Singer’s Office Gives Hundreds Wrong Date for Election Day
City Commissioner Stephanie Singer’s office, which runs elections in Philadelphia, emailed hundreds of poll workers an incorrect date for the May 19th primary.
Chief Deputy City Commissioner Norys Colon-Gonzalez said she sent the email to approximately 900 poll workers throughout the city in order to alert them about upcoming training sessions. In the correspondence, she said Election Day is May 20th. That’s one day after the actual election date.
“Hi everyone , I am sending you the Dates for the school for the Primary Election that is taking place May 20th, 2015,” wrote Colon-Gonzalez. “I am sory its [sic] late but if anyone missed their Wards classes, they do have make up classes at the bottom of the page. Feel free to email me with questions.”
Colon-Gonzalez said it was an honest mistake.
“That was my error. I was looking at last year’s calendar,” she said. “I did email everyone back apologizing and correcting it.”
Shannon Marietta, a campaign spokeswoman for Singer, said Singer had nothing to do with the email blast—or other day-to-day operations in the office, for that matter—because she is running for reelection.
“Stephanie is not running the day-to-day office [because] she has to resign when she is on the ballot,” said Marietta. “Anything sent under her name was done in the office without her involvement.”
So who is managing Singer’s office on a daily basis?
First, some background: When Philadelphia’s three city commissioners are up for reelection, they do not sit the Board of Elections. A trio of judges from the Court of Common Pleas takes their spot instead.
Marietta initially told us, “I’m not sure which judge is running her office right now, but it’s not Stephanie.”
However, Al Schmidt, Singer’s fellow City Commissioner, said that Philadelphia’s commissioners are still responsible for managing their individual offices when they are on the upcoming ballot. They simply step down from the Board of Elections during that time, he said.
“The Board of Elections votes on things like moving polling places, approving the ballot, and matters like that, and it would be inappropriate for us to vote on matters directly affecting our own election,” said Schmidt. “But we still run day-to-day operations in our own offices. We’re the sole people responsible for doing that.”
When told about Schmidt’s statements, Marietta shot back: “Schmidt actually doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does. He is also in [his] first term like Stephanie. I don’t think his lawyers are smarter.”
Charles Goodwin, Singer’s attorney, added via email, “State law requires that county (or city commissioners) excuse themselves from Board of Elections activities when they are candidates for reelection. In most counties, commissioners have responsibilities other than the Board of Elections. In Philly, they don’t.”
To make matters more complicated, Colon-Gonzalez told us she is managing Singer’s office day-to-day, along with principal assistant David Ralston.
Asked if Colon-Gonzalez is, in fact, running the show, Marietta contradicted her earlier claim that a judge is in charge.
“Yes,” said Marietta. “Stephanie is not involved.”
Singer may not be involved, but according to city payroll records, she is still receiving an annual salary of $127,085 to serve as city commissioner.