PORT CHESTER, N.Y. - After much conjecture and spirited debate, the Port Chester Board of Trustees surprisingly voted against appointing former Rye Town Supervisor Robert Morabito to the post of Village Clerk by a vote of 4-3 Monday.
The village's current clerk, Joan Mancuso, is retiring June 14 after three years as clerk and 15 years working for the village.
Morabito, a Democrat and lifelong resident of Port Chester, was ousted by the current Republican Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin after serving more than a decade in office. Oddly enough, the appointment of Morabito was proposed by conservative Trustee Sam Terenzi, who strongly advocated against Morabito during his time in office.
Terenzi argued Morabito's experience as Town Supervisor and background in Port Chester qualified him for the position. Mayor Dennis Pilla said Morabito has no official clerk experience.
The appointment also would have come before the board has conducted any interviews of the potential five clerk candidates. Terenzi said there are two candidates who live in Port Chester.
Trustee Daniel Brakewood said the approach taken by the board was "the wrong way," and the board should interview all of the candidates before submitting an applicant for appointment.
Although the vote didn't pass, it was the closest the board has had in months thanks to the presence via Skype of ailing Trustee John Branca. Branca, who is battling an illness, voted with Terenzi to appoint Morabito.
The opposition, led by Pilla and Brakewood, received support from Republican Trustees Joseph Kenner and Bart Didden subsequently blocking the appointment.
Before the vote, Village Attorney Tony Cerreto said Branca's presence via video conference could lead to possible legal action. Cerreto said since Branca's home is an alternative public meeting site, if any members of the public were denied access to that site, all action taken by the board could be nullified.
Brakewood reported before the meeting began two people had been denied access to Branca's home. Branca denied the allegations. Pilla ultimately decided to have the vote.
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