East Rochester, N.Y. --- Two weeks after the polls closed on Election Day the winner of the East Rochester Village Justice race is at last final.
David Bonacchi, the Republican candidate, was appointed to the position following a four-to-one vote of the East Rochester Village Board.
The vote was necessary because Bonacchi and Democrat Dennis Greco ended the election tied at 1,274 votes each. After all absentee, military, and affidavit ballots were counted the two men remained deadlocked and the village leaders went to the law books to determine how to break the tie.
The recommended course of action, as guided by state law, was that the board vote to fill the vacant seat with an appointment that would be valid for one year only. The seat is considered vacant since the election failed to produce an undisputed winner.
In November 2013 East Rochester voters will head to the polls again to elect a justice for this seat and the winner of that election will serve out a full four-year term.
"I don't think people really sometimes understand how important their vote is and this race demonstrates it,” Bonacchi said after the special meeting of the board. “I mean nobody in their wildest thoughts would've thought it was going to come down to a tie.”
"This just shows how important one vote can be,” Greco said. “People who say a vote doesn't count here's an example. One vote could've made a big difference in the outcome of this, you need to get out and vote and voice your opinion on things and be involved in the political process as much as you can.”
For Bonacchi this represents a return to politics after the former East Rochester Police Officer served as Village Mayor before losing in 2007.
Greco is best known as the East Rochester High School Football coach, a post he’s held for the last twenty years. After retiring as a social studies teacher last school year Greco decided to run for the justice seat while also coaching his team to a Sectional V Title.
After the meeting both men congratulated each other and their families on successful campaigns.
"I had 1,274 vote for a football coach to be a judge,” Greco said. “Think about that for a minute I mean I just feel very humbled that that many people came out and showed support for me and thought I could do the job, I'm a very fortunate guy.”
"One of the reasons why I was going to run for judge was it was always going to be a positive race and when Dennis said that he was going to run it was always going to be against a gentleman,” Bonacchi said. “Dennis Greco is a great guy he's been a gentleman, he's been a friend, he coached my kids in football I used to go over to his house for chili. This is this is hard.”
Bonacchi will begin his term as Justice in January. He occupies a seat vacated by recently-elected New York State Supreme Court Justice Scott Odirisi.