Montgomery Takes Seat on Legislature

Expresses disappointment at board appointments

By Holly Crocco

There was one new face on board, but little else changed as the Putnam County Legislature began the new year, with members voting to re-elect the incumbent chair and deputy chair during the annual organizational meeting Jan. 8 at the Historic Courthouse in Carmel.

Joseph Castellano (R-Brewster) will remain as chair and Toni Addonizio (R-Kent) as his deputy.

Legislator Nancy Montgomery (D-Philipstown), participating in her first meeting since being sworn in on Dec. 31, the sole Democrat on the nine-member board, said she was happy to support Castellano’s nomination but asked that he consider assigning her as a liaison to certain advisory boards.

“I hope that the Legislature and Joe will consider the volunteer items that I put forth in a letter to him in early December and an email that the rest of the Legislature received today,” she said.

When it came time to adopt the Legislative Manual, which outlines the functions and duties, organization, rules and power of the governing body, Montgomery asked that the Legislature revise the guidebook first. “Some wording is unintelligible,” she said. For example, the manual states that certain initiatives be “channeled” from department heads to the Legislature.

“What does channeling mean?” she asked. “We’re not serving our public by having this document serve as our code for communication, and in the best interest of the public we want to have a solid document that’s clean to communicate with each other and the county executive’s office, and there are words and phrases in here that are not clear,” she said.

No other legislator seconded Montgomery’s request, so the manual was adopted by a vote of 7-1. (One legislator was absent.)

Committee assignments have not yet been made, but Montgomery was named to the Region 3 Forest Practice Board and the Fish and Wildlife Management Board, and as an additional representative on the Capital Projects Committee. She expressed disappointment over not being chosen for the Soil and Water Conservation District Board or the Board of Health.

“I’m not sure how these appointments” are made, she said. “Being new to this, I’m curious as to what qualifies somebody to be the liaison” to each board.

Legislator Ginny Nacerino (R-Patterson) replied that legislators are rotated to serve on different boards.

Montgomery thanked her fellow lawmakers for the “warm welcome” she received after the election and during her first week in office.

“I do ask a lot of questions, quite spontaneously, and I appreciate any and all the information you can give me as I get used to this new position,” she said. “Things in government do work the same on every level, but they also are very different and I’ll have some work to do.”

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