New Castle Councilman Jason Lichtenthal resigned Tuesday from the Town Board after winning election to the seat just over a year ago.
In a Facebook message to the community, Lichtenthal cited health concerns for his decision but did not elaborate in greater detail. He did not immediately respond to a phone message left for him on Wednesday.
His departure is effective immediately.
“In the end, I need to focus on myself to make sure my mental and physical health are in a better place,” Lichtenthal stated on Facebook. “Thank you all for the opportunity to serve.”
At the start of Tuesday evening’s Town Board work session, Supervisor Ivy Pool announced Lichtenthal’s resignation.
“While we are all sad to lose a valued colleague who brought wisdom, compassion and integrity to his work on the board, we understand and empathize with his reasons for resigning,” Pool said. “2020 has been an impossible year and it has made us all more fully aware of the importance of centering health, mental health and family. We wish Jason all the best and we thank him for his principles and his dedicated service to the Town of New Castle.”
Lichtenthal, 48, was part of the Democratic ticket that included Pool and Deputy Supervisor Jeremy Saland that swept the 2019 Town Board election. Prior to his election to the board, Lichtenthal had served as a Millwood fire commissioner since 2016.
Fellow board members wished Lichtenthal well and recognized his service to the community.
“We appreciate all the work he’s done,” said Councilwoman Lisa Katz. “It was too short and I wish him a lot of health and happiness in the future and all goes well for him.”
Pool announced that the remainder of the board has agreed to appoint Councilwoman Lauren Levin to fill Lichtenthal’s seat until the November 2021 election. Levin, who was defeated in 2019, was appointed by the board last January to fill the Pool’s former council seat after Pool was successful in run for supervisor. She was scheduled to serve in that seat until the end of the year.
A special election was held last month for the remaining year on Pool’s seat, which was won by Lori Morton. Morton will take over Jan. 1 for the entirety of 2021.
Pool said the board would operate with only four members for the remainder of the year until Morton is sworn in and Levin switches over to fill Lichtenthal’s seat for the upcoming year. Next November, there will be four seats up for election – the supervisor’s seat, the council seat now held by Katz, the seat that will be held by Morton and what will be the remaining two years on Lichtenthal’s term.
“Lauren’s appointment will provide much-needed continuity and stability,” Pool said.
Saland and Katz thanked Levin for stepping up again in a pinch to help the board. Levin thanked them for their confidence in her.
“It’s been such a huge pleasure and a debt of gratitude to have worked with Jason and to get to know him personally and professionally,” Levin said. “I just want to thank you so much for your kind words, your support and I look forward to next year serving this community that my family and I absolutely love.”