The announcement on January 20 of Jean Gallucci’s resignation from New Paltz’s town board climaxed months of speculation over her protracted absence from board meetings. In response to direct questions from former board member Kitty Brown at a recent meeting, town supervisor Susan Zimet had acknowledged that Gallucci had been having health problems, but said that she could not release details on such matters except in executive session.
In an e-mail to New Paltz Times this week, Gallucci confirmed that she had indeed been too ill to attend meetings this past fall, but said that he had continued to contribute to town business, “working remotely for the months of October and November. I returned to work in December.”
The town government release said that Gallucci had stepped down from that position “due to work commitment.” The announcement quoted Gallucci as saying in her resignation letter, “My full-time place of employment has assumed new management. As chief fiscal officer, I am an integral part of the executive and transition team. While I maintain my passion for local government, I feel a sense of commitment to the agency and the clients during their time of transition. I have enjoyed working with everyone during my tenure on the New Paltz Town Board.”
Gallucci elaborated this week on the professional opportunity that would henceforth be taking up too much of her time for her to continue to serve on the town board: “I have been with the same drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility for over five years,” she said. “In late October, the agency changed management. I continue to work there as the CFO during this time of transition. Since I returned in December, I have been an active member in the senior management and transition activities. This new role is challenging and welcomed. It is also a change in shift hours, as well as the number of hours, as you can imagine.”
Gallucci said she had struggled with her decision. “After all, I had worked for the town or village in some capacity since 1998 (except for about one-and-a-half years). It was a long and difficult decision to make. Ultimately, I decided to focus on the rebuilding of our facility in an effort to continue to provide services to those in need and continue the good work we do in the local community. Be assured my resignation is not a reflection on any town board member(s) or the public I was elected to represent. It simply came down to timing, but my decision took serious consideration and that slowed me down.”
Supervisor Zimet added that Gallucci’s employer’s restructuring now required her to commute more than an hour each way to her workplace. “Due to the demands on her time, she could no longer serve in her capacity of town board,” Zimet said.
What lies ahead for the governing body? “At this moment the majority of the board is not looking to fill the position,” Zimet said. “Kevin [Barry], Jeff [Logan] and I are focused on solving many of the longstanding needs of the town in regards to buildings and infrastructure and hiring a financial director.”
As to the legal protocol for refilling such a vacancy, Zimet said that she had double-checked with the board of elections about the requirements for the remnant of an unexpired term of office. “Because her term is up in December , there is no special election,” Zimet explained. “We can appoint a person with three votes or choose not to replace. Unfortunately, with the negative treatment levied on elected officials, very few people are willing to agree to serve.”