Cobleskill racial slurs: Let's go to the tape

Last week, Cobleskill Highway Superintendent Tom Fissell accused Cobleskill Town Supervisor Tom Murray and Mayor Mark Nadeau of uttering the N-word. This week, in the face of their strenuous denials, Fissell has produced an audio tape backing up his claim, according to the Times-Journal:

There appears to be little doubt that the recording is genuine.

“I don’t think there’s any question these statements were made,” Attorney Mike West said Friday at a meeting Mr. Murray said he’d been asked to call “so the public would know what we’re doing about the allegations.” “The tapes exist,” Mr. West said. “They’re pretty clear tapes and you can certainly distinguish the voices.”

An investigation has begun, and some townspeople are calling for the pairs' resignation. Apparently, that's the only way they'll be departing; the town's attorney says that using racial slurs is not a fireable offense:

Even so, he said before Friday’s meeting, there’s no provision for removing either Mayor Nadeau or Mr. Murray from office unless they’ve committed a crime. “It’s not there,” he said. “Unfortunately, there’s something called free speech.”

That's good for Murray, who, in a blockbuster quote at the end of the Times-Journal article, admits that he said it after all:

“One slip…and I do apologize to you, It’s something I’ve got to live with the rest of my life,” he said. “I’m so embarrassed because I don’t have a racist bone in my body…I won’t say I didn’t say that…I’m not a racist, not a bigot.”