The mayor of an upstate New York town resigned July 20 after he was secretly recorded using a racial slur mocking President Obama’s campaign slogan.
According to WTEN 10, on the tape, Cobleskill, N.Y. Mayor Mark Nadeau and Supervisor Tom Murray used the “n-word” in a conversation. Nadeau used a racist acronym when characterizing Obama’s “change” campaign slogan.
“That’s what ‘change’ means, you know,” Nadeau, a White Republican, said on the tape. “Come Help Get a Elected.”
Murray responded to Nadeau’s slur by labeling the Martin Luther King Day national holiday, as “that holiday, that day, Martin Luther Day.”
Nadeau announced his resignation at a village board meeting July 20, eight days after a town hall-style meeting where protesters demanded his removal. At that meeting, Nadeau apologized for the remarks..
But the taped remark created a furor that couldn’t be satisfied by an apology, residents said, complaining that his words crossed the line of civil discourse
“You don’t demean any member of the community,” former SUNY-Cobleskill Dean Bernadette Cole Slaughter told WTEN 10. “It’s about human dignity.”
Under pressure from Slaughter and other Blacks and Whites in the small farming and college community near Albany, Nadeau, who had been the subject of unsubstantiated allegations of political misconduct, resigned July 20 to cheering from those attending the meeting.
“I commend him for doing the right thing for Cobleskill. He recognized the magnitude of his actions,” said Dave Keenan, a member of the Concerned Citizens of Cobleskill, told the Associated Press. The group was formed in response to the slurs, and started a petition to Gov. David Paterson to remove Nadeau and Murray under provisions of the state’s public officers law regarding official conduct..
Cobleskill Highway Superintendent Thomas Fissell recorded the conversation, but has not explained why he recorded it or released it to the public. Murray has yet to respond to demands for him to resign as well.