Putnam Again Snubs Montgomery

Sole Democrat assigned to one committee

History tends to repeat itself in Putnam County, at least when it comes to appointments to county legislative committees. 

Since 2019, when she joined the Legislature, Nancy Montgomery has asked to serve on the catch-all Health, Social, Education and Environmental Committee and the Protective Services Committee, given her career in health care, emergency services and government. 

Four times her colleagues have said no. 

Montgomery, the sole Democrat on the otherwise Republican, nine-member Legislature, represents Philipstown and part of Putnam Valley.

In her first year, Montgomery was named to the Personnel Committee and the Economic Development and Energy Committee. Then, in February 2021, after the annual appointment-making occurred, away from public view, the Personnel Committee no longer included her

That made her the only legislator limited to a single committee. The others were assigned to two or three committees each.

This week, it happened again. 

Montgomery’s latest request to serve on the Health and Protective Services committees went nowhere. She received no additional appointments but was reappointed to the Economic Development and Energy Committee.

At the Legislature’s annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 4, Montgomery repeated her desire to join the Health and Protective Services committees. She renewed her plea on Jan. 20 in a letter to Legislator Neal Sullivan of Carmel-Mahopac, the Legislature’s new chair, who makes the appointments.

In it, she explained that her background includes, as a member of the Philipstown Town Board, successfully advocating installation of a used-medicine safe drop-box for Philipstown; establishing and funding the town’s addiction resource coordinator position; and ensuring that local ambulance corps carry naloxone (an overdose antidote); and that, as a member of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s area staff, she dealt with health care issues.

Further, said Montgomery, she has managed group homes for the developmentally disabled and handled case management; been a volunteer ambulance corps member; trained as an emergency medical technician; worked as a 911 dispatcher; undergone advanced training from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in disaster preparedness and response; and organized Philipstown’s Emergency Operations Center during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, when the county Bureau of Emergency Services could not reach the area.

Given that record, and what she termed the county’s “erratically managed COVID response, bizarre methods of disaster preparedness and response, and complete lack of organized incident-management,” she told The Current Tuesday that county officials “are clearly doing a disservice to the people of Putnam by not appointing me to the Protective Services and Health committees.”

An email to Sullivan on Thursday (Jan. 27) asking for the reasons Montgomery was not named to her preferred committees drew no immediate response. 

However, according to Montgomery, earlier this week Sullivan told at least one curious resident (who then alerted Montgomery) that “such qualifications that Legislator Montgomery is talking about might be positive should a person desire to become an EMT or ride an ambulance; however, they don’t necessarily translate into making one the right legislator for a certain committee. Legislators make policy and financial decisions.”

2022 Assignments

Audit & Administration
Joseph Castellano (chair)
Carl Albano
William Gouldman

Budget & Finance
Neal Sullivan (chair)
All Legislators

Economic Development & Energy
William Gouldman (chair)
Paul Jonke
Nancy Montgomery

Health, Social, Educational & Environmental
Amy Sayegh (chair)
Toni Addonizio
Paul Jonke

Paul Jonke (chair)
Toni Addonizio
Ginny Nacerino

Physical Services
Carl Albano (chair)
Joseph Castellano
William Gouldman

Protective Services
Ginny Nacerino (chair)
Amy Sayegh
Neal Sullivan

Rules, Enactments & Intergovernmental Relations
Toni Addonizio (chair)
Ginny Nacerino
Amy Sayegh

4 thoughts on “Putnam Again Snubs Montgomery

  1. Given the recent questionable response to mask mandates by the Putnam County Legislature, it would seem that its the Health, Social, Environmental & Educational Committee might benefit from all the appropriate input it could muster. The absence of Nancy Montgomery, who has experience in multiple facets of health care, from the committee signals to me that it intends to operate on a belief-based rather than a data-based agenda.

  2. We’re being disenfranchised because our legislator disagrees with the eight other legislators. It’s right out of the Trump playbook. The whole eastern part of the county is so different from the western side I believe we’d be better served seceding — establish a committee to investigate the ramifications and possibilities. If it was a serious committee that alone might get their attention. [via Instagram]

  3. I have advocated for years — largely without interest — that Philipstown secede from Putnam.

    Long before Nancy won her seat on the Legislature, we had two representatives who were nominally Republican but who still could get nothing from the cabal in Carmel. They were treated as outliers, the “senior center” notwithstanding.

    When asked with whom we would realign, Dutchess is more Republican but it still has close to a balance. Westchester is more Democrat but more expensive, which might scare off folks. But either way, Philipstown would have representation, which we have not had for years, which is called “taxation without representation.” The largesse we contribute to the treasury in Carmel has been going down the rabbit hole.

    A call for bipartisan government in Putnam County has as much chance as it does in Washington, D.C. Stop wasting your breath and take on something that has a chance.