Ellner Seeks Appointment
After the January departure of Councilman Anthony DiCarlo for the Putnam County Legislature, the Carmel Town Council decided that they would leave the seat empty and operate with a four member board. However, as reported by the Courier last week, the Carmel Republican Committee requested that the board fill the seat. The council members have yet to decide on a course of action, but Republican Greg Ellner, who lost to Suzanne McDonough and Frank Lombardi in the 2009 race for town council, told the board that he would like the opportunity.
“Should you choose to fill the vacant Town Council position, this letter is to make you aware of my sincere interest to serve the public and be considered for the position,” he wrote to the board Friday.
Ellner told the Courier that although he was interested, he was hesitant at first because he wanted to spend more time at home. “But my wife said to me, about a week after a Republican Committee meeting, ‘you’re invested, you care, if there is going to be an appointment, you should throw your hat in the ring.’”
MaryEllen Odell, the only declared candidate for county executive in the special election later this year, has given her support for Ellner, citing lack of representation from the Hamlet of Carmel on the town board. “I support representation for the Hamlet of Carmel,” she said. “I think that the hamlet has been disserved for quite some time and there is an opportunity here to have representation. I speak not as a county executive candidate, but as a long time resident and advocate of the community.”
“As a resident of the Hamlet of Carmel, my appointment would fill a void where there has been no representation for more than a decade,” Ellner wrote to the board.
“I’m not doing this for the job and I’m not doing it for the money,” he said on Wednesday. “I don’t want to have a political career. I want to do my public service and I want to make a positive contribution for my family … The town of Carmel needs full representation, in particular, the hamlet of Carmel. We have no voice.”
Ellner told the board that he is uniquely qualified to work on the town council since he participated in all of the debates during his campaign and has already stated his views on many issues. “The people of Carmel agreed with my candidacy, which is why I was a winner in the Republican primary and of the 6,343 votes cast I received 2,892 votes in the General Election.”
Cutting waste and increasing communication and transparency are the top priorities, Ellner said. “For example, from last year, there was a 40 percent water tax increase for those living in Carmel Water District 2,” he explained. “It’s minimal dollars, but it is still a huge increase. Who is minding the mint? It is unimaginable how anyone could even consider this.”
“I think there needs to be an explanation,” he added.
Ellner, who runs UltraTech Systems, a company that builds sewage disinfection equipment, said that he would provide expert technical insight in helping the board deal with water related issues.
A member of the Carmel Republican Committee, Ellner said that he also has the backing of the Independence Party. “The Independence people strongly support me and they feel that I should be appointed,” Ellner said.
“We need people with integrity in politics. We need to do away with the crooks,” said Dhyalma Vazquez, a member of the executive board of the State Independence Party. “I think he is a wonderful human being with honesty and integrity. He is everything you would look for.”
Tony Scannapieco, chairman of the Carmel Republican Committee, said that as of right now, he personally thinks Ellner would be a good choice, but he will support whoever the committee decides to endorse.
Carmel Town Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt, Carmel Conservative Party Chairman Stephen Baranowski, and Carmel Democratic Party Chairman David Gagliardi could not be reached for comment.
After Councilwoman McDonough recently switched her affiliation from the Democratic to Republican parties, the four members of the town board are all now Republican.