No Fleischmanns mayor after vote falters

By Jay Braman Jr.
At a special meeting Monday night, the Fleischmanns Village Board failed to appoint a mayor to replace Dave Morell, who resigned that post a week ago.

The action, or lack of action, surprised Deputy Mayor Todd Pascarella, who expected to become Morell’s replacement that evening.

Trustee Ben Fenton made a motion that Pascarella be appointed mayor, to serve out the rest of Morell’s term, which expires in March 2013.

But neither trustees Harriet Grossman or Fred Woller would give Fenton’s motion a second.
With only four voting members of the village board, the matter is at a stand off with two in favor of Pascarella and two not supporting him.

On Tuesday Pascarella said that as deputy mayor he has the authority to handle all mayoral duties, so the village government will still be in operation. But he added that Fleischmanns is not in the position right now to not have a full government.

As the village struggles to get a hold of funding to take care of the costs associated with the aftermath of storms Irene and Lee last summer, it is important to have a mayor, pure and simple.
“When I speak with state officials about these issues they always want to know what the mayor thinks,” Pascarella said. “They don’t want to know what the deputy mayor thinks, or the interim mayor.”

Neither Grossman nor Woller could be reached for comment.
It remains unclear if the lack of support for Pascarella’s appointment represents some political maneuvering.

Woller ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Morell last year.
According to the village’s attorney, it is perfectly legal to go through the next year without a mayor and only a four-member village board.

The village board is supposed to have five members. If appointed as mayor, Pascarella would have had the authority to appoint a new trustee to fill the vacancy left when he shifted over to the mayor’s seat.

In his February 16 resignation letter, Morell told the board that he was leaving ‘with the utmost confidence in (Pascarella) to assume the responsibilities of the office.”
“Throughout the extraordinary challenges we have faced, Todd has been a partner in all affairs of import and has demonstrated amazing clarity of purpose, commitment and leadership ability,” Morell wrote.