The Pawling Town Board convened at Town Hall on Wednesday, January 3, for a workshop and organizational meeting, the first of 2018. The meeting also marked the first for newly elected Town Supervisor James Schmitt, as well as new councilman Jim McCarthy. The Board approved a number of organizational resolutions, officially swore in newly elected officials, and appointed a replacement for the seat on the Board that was vacated when Councilman Michael Montemarano stepped down in December.
The evening began with Sheriff Butch Anderson officially swearing in the newly elected officials. Town Supervisor James Schmitt, Councilmen Bill Johnson and Jim McCarthy, Town Clerk Cathy Giordano, and Town Superintendent of Highways Jay Dickinson all took the oath of office before a standing-room only crowd. Supervisor Schmitt now begins a two-year term, with all other officers holding four-year terms of office.
The Board next approved several organizational resolutions for the upcoming year. Town Board meetings will be held on the first and second Wednesdays of the month at Town Hall at 7:00 p.m., with a meeting held only once, on the second Wednesday, in the months of July and August. The Town Planning Board will meet on the first and third Mondays of each month at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall, with the exceptions of Jan. 16, Feb. 20, and Sept. 4, when meetings will be held on the Tuesday following a holiday. The Board also approved a Grievance Day on which property owners can appeal their property taxes, to be held on the Wednesday following the fourth Tuesday in May.
Following the approval of the meeting schedule, the Town Board approved a number of appointments for officials in 2018. Andrew Forman will begin a six-month term as Town Bookkeeper; Cathy Giordano was appointed Water District Clerk for District #1 and 2; and Councilman Bill Johnson will once again serve as Deputy Supervisor. In addition, Michael F. Kelly will serve as Chief Constable; Joseph Zarecki was named Town Engineer; and Ronald Gallagher was appointed Fire Marshall for the Town of Pawling, with all three officials serving one-year terms. Robert Shadur will be retained as Town Attorney; Cappillino & Rothschild LLC was appointed the town’s Special Prosecutor. Jay Dickinson will also serve a one-year term as manager of the Town Transfer Station.
In closing business, the Board addressed the issue of filling the seat vacated by Michael Montemarano, who stepped down last month citing personal reasons. Councilman Bill Johnson introduced a motion to appoint Dave Kelly to the position. Kelly served as Pawling Town Supervisor for eight years before being defeated by James Schmitt in the Republican Caucus this past summer. Councilman Phil DeRosa spoke against the appointment, suggesting instead that the Board not rush their decision. “I believe in the Democratic system and the way we vote, and I feel that the residents made a decision when they voted in the caucus,” Councilman DeRosa said. “I supported Dave, and I told him that I would continue to support him if he wanted to run after he lost the caucus. I can’t in my heart put someone back on the Board that the residents voted off. I think we should give someone else a chance to step up.” Supervisor Schmitt spoke in favor of Mr. Kelly’s appointment, saying, “Dave is someone who has a wealth of knowledge, and he’s helped me out a lot. This community has thought highly enough of him to elect him to this board several times. We’re here to do what is best for the community, and filling this seat will let us hit the ground running. His resume is impressive, and he has accomplished a lot for this community.” Councilman Johnson also spoke in favor of Kelly: “This is not for the position of Supervisor, this is to sit on the Town Board, and he is more qualified than anyone. It will give us a full board, and we have a lot of projects that we want to start working on.” Ultimately, the Board voted 3 – 1 in favor of appointing Kelly to the vacant Town Council seat. The position will be filled until the November elections.