Todd Pascarella appointed mayor of Fleischmanns

In an abrupt about-face, the Fleischmanns village board has appointed trustee Todd Pascarella as mayor, to fill a vacancy left by former mayor Dave Morell's resignation.

In February, the Catskill Mountain News reported that a motion by trustee Ben Fenton to appoint Pascarella mayor failed when trustees Harriet Grossman and Fred Woller would not second it.

Last month, just before a village election in which Grossman and Woller faced write-in challenges for their seats on the board, Grossman publicly blasted Fenton and Pascarella for holding "secret meetings" about flood recovery.

But it appears the two halves of the bitterly divided village board have buried the hatchet, at least for now. Pascarella told the Watershed Post he was appointed mayor this morning, in a meeting held in executive session -- somewhat ironically, given Grossman and Woller's objection to village business being conducted out of the public eye.

Pascarella acknowledged that his appointment was "a big turnabout from where we were just recently."

A factor behind the move to appoint him mayor, Pascarella said, was a village board meeting last week in which MARK Project director Peg Ellsworth prodded the board to appoint a mayor.

Still to be decided: An appointment to the village board to fill Pascarella's seat. But, Pascarella said, the board should act soon on appointing another village trustee.

"We've got our work cut out for us, but we're not sitting here tearing ourselves apart," he said.