The Putnam Examiner

Legislature Leadership Remains Same with Nacerino Chair

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Leadership on the Putnam County Legislature remained unchanged for the year 2017 as Ginny Nacerino clinched chairmanship for the second year in a row with Joe Castellano returning as vice- chairman.

During the county Legislature’s organizational meeting Tuesday night, Nacerino and Castellano were voted to their respective positions by 8-1 margins after serving in the same roles last year.

Nacerino, in an interview afterward, said she was very humbled by the appointment and looked forward to working with her colleagues for the upcoming year.

“Having respect for one another and respect for the public is a very strong point I uphold,” Nacerino, a Patterson resident, said. “And I feel that our roles as elected officials is not always to do the easy thing or go down the path of least resistance, but to make tough decisions and do the right things for the right reasons.”

During the meeting, Castellano, who nominated her for chair, called Nacerino a “tireless fighter for the taxpayers.” He added Nacerino has helped lead the lawmaking body through “very difficult and trying legislative sessions.” Legislator Bill Gouldman seconded the nomination and said Nacerino has shown the character and qualities to be “true leader.”

Newly elected lawmaker Neal Sullivan said Nacerino has a tremendous amount of experience and is well qualified. Sullivan noted he and Nacerino think similarly about “a lot of the same topics.”

Nacerino became the first woman to ever serve as legislature chair back-to- back years. Last year, she became the third woman to serve as chair in county history after Ethel Forkell (1979) of Kent and Mary Conklin (2012) of Patterson. Nacerino started her elected career off when she was a councilwoman in Patterson for seven years and was then elected to the legislature in 2012. She was previously vice-chairwoman for two years.

Castellano was nominated by Legislator Carl Albano for deputy chairman, who noted Castellano votes with “common sense and fairness.” Seconding the nomination was Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra, who said Castellano brings a lot to the legislature, including a settling demeanor even in the midst of heated debate.

“He’s a great asset to this legislature,” Scuccimarra said.

Castellano, a Brewster resident, was elected in 2012 and is in the middle of his second term in office. He said he was very honored to get the support from most legislators.

“I think we’re doing a great job here in Putnam County and I’m looking forward to 2017,” Castellano said.

The sole lawmaker to vote against both Nacerino and Castellano was Dini LoBue. Last year, LoBue voted for both lawmakers to hold leadership spots, but said recent developments prevented her from supporting Nacerino.

“The legislative chair functions as the impartial communicator of pertinent information to all the legislators including myself,” LoBue said. “Chairwoman Nacerino by not communicating with me personally, but by text, concerning the proposed dismissal of legislative counsel Clement Van Ross showed herself to be incapable of properly exercising her duties as chairwoman. And considering the critical nature of that decision and its implication for future legislative action, I voted against her continuation as chair.”

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