Former Town Leaders Remain in Local Government Roles

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Two former town supervisors who retired from their posts a few weeks ago will still play a role in town government this year.

Somers Supervisor Robert Scorrano was sworn-in with Rick Morrissey by his side.

During its first voting meeting of 2022 on Jan. 11, the Cortlandt Town Board voted to enter into a consulting agreement for a maximum of 10 months with Linda Puglisi at a rate of $6,500 month.

Puglisi, who served 34 consecutive years on the Town Board, including 30 as supervisor, will assist the current administration with background information and other expertise on various issues, including the decommissioning of the Indian Point nuclear power plants.

“It’s good governance,” Puglisi said Friday when asked about her new responsibility. “I’m looking forward to it. I appreciate Richard (new Supervisor Dr. Richard Becker) and the Town Board wanting me to be in that capacity. I have a lot of knowledge to bring to the table. It’s hard for me to turn off my brain.”

Meanwhile, in the Town of Somers, newly sworn-in Supervisor Robert Scorrano opted at the Town Board’s Jan. 6 reorganization meeting to appoint former Supervisor Rick Morrissey as his deputy supervisor instead of one of the board members as is usually the custom in municipalities.

Morrissey served four terms as supervisor before deciding not to seek reelection last year. He served as a councilman for four years prior.

Councilman Tom Garrity, who has served since 2008, was deputy supervisor throughout Morrissey’s time as supervisor.

Under New York State Town Law, supervisors are allowed to appoint anyone they choose to be their right-hand person. Deputy supervisors often attend events on the supervisor’s behalf and can run Town Board meetings if the supervisor is absent but cannot vote on any town resolutions if they are not an elected representative.

“As a first-time elected official, I can think of no better mentor to be my deputy supervisor than the individual who just guided the town through more than a decade of low taxes, low crime rates, and economic growth,” Scorrano reportedly stated.

During the Jan. 6 meeting, Town Clerk Patricia Kalba read a letter submitted by Teresa Clifford, a resident of Heritage Hills, who questioned Scorrano’s appointment.

“It is unprecedented to have a former supervisor act as deputy supervisor. Bill Harding left, and Mary Beth Murphy replaced him. Bill was not appointed deputy supervisor. When Rick became supervisor, Mary Beth did not become deputy supervisor. Tom Garrity became deputy supervisor with Rick. He has a great deal of experience and should remain deputy. We also have two excellent council members in Richard Clinchy and Anthony Cirieco. No need for Mr. Morrissey to be appointed deputy,” wrote Clifford, who unsuccessfully ran for town supervisor in 1997.

As deputy supervisor, Morrissey will receive an annual stipend of $1,080.

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