The newly-elected county executive of Albany County, N.Y., admitted he took time off from his job as a local firefighter to campaign, not for National Guard duty as he previously said.
McCoy, a Democrat elected last week, admitted to the Albany Times-Union that while he told Albany fire officials he was taking off on Oct. 16 for National Guard duty, he was at a beer-and-wine-themed campaign event for county residents. McCoy's National Guard duty did not start until the next day.
That Sunday afternoon, at 4 p.m., McCoy said he attended a campaign event at Anna O'Keeffe's pub on Washington Avenue. The event, which included free wine and beer, was not a fundraiser and had been cast as a place where people could "come and meet the new county executive."
"I screwed up. It's not the first time with all my scheduling going on," McCoy said. "I put in for military (time) because I thought I was leaving that time frame but I didn't leave until Monday morning. ... I thought we were leaving Sunday."
McCoy said his duties that week involved armory inspections in Rochester, Buffalo and other locations. He said he later contacted a fire department official to correct the mistake in his time sheet. He could not remember exactly who that person was or explain why his time sheet with the department was never changed to reflect he was not on military .eave that Sunday.
The Times-Union said that McCoy could have taken off starting at 10 p.m. on Oct. 16 to prepare for the Guard duty.
McCoy, the chairman of the Albany County legislature, was elected to the county executive's post unopposed in last week's election, succeeding Mike Breslin (D) in the Democrat-heavy county. According to his campaign website, McCoy fought in Iraq as a member of the state's Army National Guard. His biography says he has been a firefighter with the city of Albany since 2003 and previously spent 10 years as a firefighter at Albany International Airport.
Military reserve and National Guard duty have played a role in other elections and government service around the country in the last decade. In 2003, Pennsylvania State Sen. John Pippy (R) was allowed to remain on the ballot during his military service, as he became a Senate candidate prior to being activated for service. His wife, Katherine, handled campaign duties in his place. In Amherst, N.Y., town councilman Jay Anderson (R) left his seat for military duty in September, using a town law to appoint his father, former Assemblyman Richard Anderson (R), to serve as his temporary replacement.
McCoy is one of six new county executives elected across New York state. Last Tuesday, he was voted into new office along with fellow Democrats Steve Bellone in Suffolk County and Mark Poloncarz in Erie County, as well as Republicans Debbie Preston winning in Broome County, Marc Molinaro in Dutchess County and Mary Ellen Odell in Putnam County.