Former Utica Councilman and Corporation Counsel Leon Koziol pictured here with incoming President Michael Galime at Election Day victory party .
It was the last thing anyone expected in Utica, New York on Election Day 2015. Like a walk with the devil, you had to have a lot of bad luck to lose as a Democrat on the coat tails of an incumbent mayor who defeated his Republican and Independent opponents by more than a 2-1 margin.
But that’s what happened on November 3rd when a total unknown named Michael Galime soundly beat incumbent Frank Meola for Council President. Most of the other horses came through in the heavily dominated city of Democrat voters, but not Frank. And he was also its party chairman! How much more embarrassing could it get?
So why was Frank such a big time loser on this day ? At Mike’s victory party at Swify’s restaurant downtown, long time politician Leon Koziol asked the winner how he did the impossible. Everyone knew he was a long shot Republican underdog. Here’s what he had to say:
“We hit the doors and kept it an honest campaign. I was especially pleased with the victory when considering how the popular mayor walked the streets to boost Frank’s chances as his running mate.”
But as they say, Karma has a way of coming around when you play dirty with your once trusted allies. You see Frank has a penchant for committing criminal acts. It cost him the city Comptrollers race in 2009 and Frank’s ego got way too big when he lucked out for Council President two years later.
Utica has been struggling for decades to shed itself from all the mafia reputation that has plagued its progress. In recent years promising developments at SUNY Tech (where Leon was once elected student president) have brought real progress to Utica.
But you can’t attract high profile developers with a convicted felon as the city’s council president and vice mayor. Fortunately the voters caught on to Frank’s fraudulent character and loudly sent him the message: “Get lost convict!”
Now Meola will go back to fixing cars at his body shop (hopefully without committing more crimes) and the city can move forward with honest upstanding representation with the new Council President. Congratulations Mike! We worked our tails off spreading the good word about you and you did it !