NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Absentee ballots have been counted and unofficial election results confirm that Republican Thomas Moreo has won a seat on the Town Board. But what’s going to happen next is apparently anyone’s guess.
Things have been confusing because while Moreo’s name appeared on the ballot, he was reportedly planning to move out of state, according to the North Salem Republican Committee.
He owns a home in town, but it’s been listed for sale since last August on the real estate website Zillow.
The North Salem News found out about Moreo’s plans to move out of state from a source. That report was confirmed by the town’s Republican Party leadership but repeated attempts for clarification from Moreo himself have been unsuccessful.
A reporter did reach Moreo by phone on Nov. 7, but he declined to speak on the matter and hung up.
Now that he’s been elected, Moreo could either be sworn in—and serve the full four-year term—or resign on Jan. 1. If the latter happens, the Town Board could appoint someone to fill his spot for a one-year term and the seat would be up for grabs next November.
Beyond that, the matter is out of the board’s hands, said Supervisor Warren Lucas on Nov. 19, the day the absentee ballots were tallied by elections folks.
“It’s totally his decision,” the supervisor explained.
If Moreo resigns, the board could also choose to leave the seat vacant, wait for the fall elections, and appoint the winner immediately instead of waiting for his or her swearing in January.
Rounding out the current board are Peter Kamenstein, Martin Aronchick, and Brent Golisano.
Lucas said he wasn’t especially worried about the possibility of a temporarily empty seat.
“We’ve had four-person boards before. We all get along. We don’t argue,” he said.
The Westchester Board of Elections is expected to certify the candidates’ numbers within a few weeks.
At present, with the absentee ballots, they are: Republican Moreo, 894; Democrat Katherine J. Daniels, 882; and Republican Brent S. Golisano, 1,005. Prior to the absentee ballots being counted, Moreo had bested Daniels by five votes; he is now ahead by 12.
Three spots on the five-person board (four councilmen, one supervisor) were in contention because incumbent Councilman Golisano was up for reelection and Councilwoman Lisa Douglas had decided not to run again.
UP IN THE AIR
This newspaper also reached out last week to Republican chairman William Monti and Daniels.
Daniels, a former school board member who has lived in North Salem since 1996 had previously said that the situation was “incredibly frustrating.” She added she felt voters had not been well informed.
Democratic Committee Co-Chair Emily Siegel was reserving comment until the race results are certified.
Following the Nov. 5 elections, Democratic Club President Pat Carey had said she was disappointed with the initial poll results but still had been “optimistic” because things had been so close between Daniels and Moreo.
Carey also reserved comment until the results are certified.
Now that that is in, unofficial as it is, the town politicos are weighing their next move, if there is one.