Cohoes tries to move forward after Morse guilty plea

August 21, 2019 12:42 PM

A new acting mayor was sworn in last night in Cohoes. But Shawn Morse says he's still in charge -- despite pleading guilty Tuesday in federal court to transferring campaign funds to his personal accounts.

There was still no sign of Morse at City Hall as of noon Wednesday, but Acting Mayor Christopher Briggs has been at work.


Morse's name was scraped off the mayor's office door Wednesday morning and the locks at City Hall were changed.

The Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to no longer recognize Morse as mayor. There was a round of applause as Briggs was sworn in.

Bill Keeler, who won the Democratic primary in June and is running unopposed, is set to take office as the next mayor in January.

Morse did not resign after pleading guilty in Binghamton. Briggs says he told Morse over the phone about the council’s plan. However, he said Morse did not accept that and plans to hold on to his position until his sentencing in December.

The council also approved a motion Tuesday that it would be the last day Morse would paid as mayor.

"It was, to be honest, pretty cut and dried what the law said. So it was not a matter of 'should Shawn Morse be the mayor,' the question was 'is he the mayor?' said Common Councilmember Steve Napier. "And the legal opinions were that he's not the mayor. That means that Council President Briggs needed to step forward and that's what he's doing now."

City leaders are hoping to put this difficult chapter behind them and move the city on to bigger and brighter things.


WNYT Staff

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