Don’t be surprised if Ulster Town Hall denizens are humming Elvis’s Flip, Flop and Fly this week after Town Supervisor Jim Quigley once again reversed himself on a decision to leave office.
Wednesday afternoon, Quigley informed media he was resigning from office, effective at 11:59 p.m. that night. A few hours later after meeting with town officials and others, he decided to stay put.
A statement from Quigley released Wednesday evening indicated that very shortly after news got out about his resignation, there was a groundswell of support for him staying. “Within minutes, a significant body of town and local leaders came forward to urge me to stay on and work with the board to address internal issues and, in particular, to carry on my work regarding my Local Government Fiscal Modernization program and the proposed refinancing of town debt expected to achieve a savings of over three quarters of a million dollars over the remaining life of the debt,” stated Quigley. “They made clear that those efforts, undertaken as part of my commitment since being elected to streamline and modernize town government and to get our financial house in order, trumps the personal concerns that led to my earlier decision. Accordingly, I rescinded my letter and intend to carry on the good work the board and I have been doing. I did so only after a commitment from leaders to join me in resolving the conflicts in Town Hall.”
When he first alerted the media that he was resigning earlier that afternoon, Quigley cited an unpleasant political atmosphere as the main cause.
“Let’s just say I’m tired of the politics,” he said in an interview. “It raises a great deal of unnecessary stress and I am not prepared to deal with it any longer.”
This is not the first time Quigley has raised this issue. Two years ago he said he wouldn’t seek a third term unless the Republican committee kept its distance from town board affairs. He was later cross-endorsed by town Democrats.
Quigley, 57, a Republican, was elected supervisor in 2009, defeating two-term Democrat Nick Woerner. Quigley narrowly lost a race for county comptroller to Democrat Elliott Auerbach in 2008.
It was known in town circles that Quigley took issue with the town Republican committee over filling the vacancy for town clerk after Jason Cosenza resigned earlier this year to take a position as a corrections officer with the sheriff’s department. The town committee endorsed McDonough for the post. In another irony, McDonough was soundly defeated by Auerbach in 2013.
A recent letter to the editor in a local newspaper wherein former town board member Bob Crane called Quigley a “bully” for the way he handled the East Kingston volunteer fire company staffing controversy was also cited by Quigley as part of his decision to leave town hall.
Earlier this year Quigley indicated he was reluctant to run for a fourth term, citing health issues, “brought on by stress,” as a factor.
But Wednesday night, Quigley sounded like he was going to stay at the helm. “I do not serve any political leader or party. I was elected with the endorsement of all major parties,” read the statement. “From day one, I pledged to work for every single person in the Town of Ulster, regardless of affiliation and I have kept that promise. Labels like Democrat and Republican should be left at the door at 9:01 pm on Election Day.
“I am proud of my achievements in office, proud too of having accomplished them with bipartisan and nonpartisan support,” the statement continued. “I accept the responsibility to weather all storms in order to complete those tasks for the benefit of the people of the Town of Ulster.”
Flip, Flop and Fly was written by Big Joe Turner (Rock and Around the Clock) in 1955 and performed by Presley on his first television appearance in February 1956.