New Nelsonville Mayor Says He Will Resign

Village Board to select a trustee as interim

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

Two months and a day after being elected, Nelsonville Mayor Chris Caccamise announced on Monday (May 20) that he plans to resign because of an unforeseen move out of the village.

The date of his exit remained unclear, but “it will be the very near future,” Caccamise said at a Village Board meeting. He explained that he and his family will “most likely” move to a home outside Nelsonville.

Caccamise

Caccamise defeated incumbent Mayor Bill O’Neill in the March election after a contentious race that partly focused on the  Village Board’s handling of ongoing federal lawsuits brought by Homeland Towers, Verizon and AT&T after Nelsonville denied an application for a cell tower overlooking the Cold Spring Cemetery. The election also saw the defeat of Trustee Alan Potts and brought to the board two newcomers, Dove Pedlosky and Lisa Mechaley.

The mayor did not offer details on the reasons for his decision, calling it a “personal thing” and saying, “I have to think about the future of my family. It was unexpected.” He described the turn of events as “absolutely awful. And I regret it more than I can express.”

Caccamise and Village Clerk Mindy Jesek said Monday that the four village trustees — the others are Michael Bowman and Dave Moroney — must select one of them to serve as mayor until an election is held in the spring.

The outgoing mayor recommended that either Bowman, who was not at the meeting, or Moroney, both elected in 2018, succeed him, since they have the most experience. He described himself as “not very good at” running board meetings, adding that “it really takes someone who knows what they’re doing, to do this.”

Under state law, after a current trustee becomes mayor, he or she can appoint someone to fill the newly vacated board seat. The appointed trustee will serve until the spring election.

Caccamise became a trustee in August when O’Neill tapped him to replace Thomas Robertson, who also had served only two months of his trustee term before resigning.

Speaking from the audience, Robertson contended that well before this year’s election Caccamise “knew about” his relocation. Another audience member mentioned rumors of an effort by Caccamise and others to take control of the board before he left. He ran as a team, with Pedlosky and Mechaley.

“I don’t want anyone to have the impression I ran thinking, I’ll just leave,” if elected, Caccamise said. “That was absolutely not my intention.”

 “The other trustees are hearing about this for the first time tonight,” Pedlosky said. “It’s a surprise to us, as well.”

Robertson refused to back down. “I’m really disturbed by your election,” he told Caccamise. “You shouldn’t have run. I hope you’ll be gone before the next meeting. I’m glad you’re going.”

5 Responses to "New Nelsonville Mayor Says He Will Resign"

  1. Patricia Polhemus   May 24, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Pretty sad state of affairs.

  2. Donna Anderson   May 25, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Never know what goes on behind closed doors. Was this a planned venture? Politics!

  3. Eliza Starbuck   May 26, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    This is an unfortunate turn of events, and I’m sure that none of this was a part of Chris’ intentions. His regrets seem sincere, and he admitted his shortcomings in the new role.

    Given the political climate, I find it rather surprising that outside of the comments section The Current would publish and therefore spread rumors in the article from Robertson, a political opponent and a member of the community with contentious vested interests. Although it could be defended as “reporting events,” responsible community journalism does not publish and spread rumors or speculations that may cause or inflame divisive imaginations. Why encourage gossip?

  4. Christopher Caccamise   May 28, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Dear Nelsonville Residents,

    I’m writing to offer my apologies to each of you. I know my departure must disappoint you— I am deeply sad for letting you down. I made the decision that is best for my family, but I know it is one that is unfair to you.

    I ran with honest intentions after witnessing the need for better, kinder leadership. Serving the Village this past year as a Trustee and then briefly as a Mayor has been a great privilege. I loved serving the Village but my service is simply not compatible with the circumstances of my life.

    I was proud to run with Dove and Lisa, who are ethical, talented, and eager to work hard with this community. In a mere few weeks, they’ve worked closely with our lawyer on the cell tower case, identified grants for moving this village forward, and recruited a stellar new ZBA member. My decision is not a reflection on them. The board received my news of stepping down as mayor just moments before I shared it with all at the town meeting. For the sake of this entire Village Board – Dove, Lisa, Mike, and Dave – I ask that you support them during this transition. They have committed themselves to this effort with full commitment and dedication.

    I trust the four standing trustees to work together to make the best decision for replacing me as mayor.

    Again, I offer my sincere apologies for letting you down. I am truly sorry.

    Chris

  5. Pam Donato-Hustis   June 21, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    I agree with Mr. Robertson. If this was premeditated, it was irresponsible and negligent to run, especially considering the platform on which he stood. The mature, responsible and ethical decision would have been to back out of the race, knowing full well the path his personal life was headed. We’re a small hamlet, but we still deserve professional and experienced political representation.