The Anti-Patronage Pledge From a Surrogate’s Candidate

In a July 28 letter to New York County Democratic Leader Herman "Denny" Farrell, Surrogate’s Court candidate Milton Tingling said, if elected, he won’t let people who hold positions in the Democratic party to get work through the court.

The letter, which was forwarded to me by the campaign, says:

“Public confidence in the integrity of the Surrogate Courts in Brooklyn and the Bronx have been undermined by allegations and reports of political favoritism in the assignment of fiduciary responsibility for cases that come before the Court.  Those concerns convince me that it is imperative to do all I can to ensure the residents of Manhattan that, if I am elected, politics will stop at the Courthouse door.

 "Therefore, if elected, I will institute a policy as surrogate that I will bar anyone who is a member of a Democratic club or anyone who holds or has held over the last two years any party position, including District Leader or member of the NYS Democratic Committee, from receiving any fiduciary assignments through the Office of Public Administrator or Counsel to the Public Administrator.  I have taken the liberty of sending a notice to the District Leaders to let them know of my position."

It’s an attempt to position Tingling, who has enjoyed a lot of party support, as a reformer in a race for an office that has been dogged by the issue of patronage for some time. He is running against John Reddy and Nora Anderson.