Fleischmanns mayor Dave Morell resigns
By Jay Braman Jr.
Halfway through his second, two-year term in office, Fleischmanns Mayor Dave Morell abruptly resigned last Thursday.
The Fleischmanns Village Board has canceled its February meeting and will convene next month.
By then, according to Deputy Mayor Todd Pascarella, the village’s attorney will have reached a conclusion as to how the process of filling the mayor’s position will go.
In the meantime, Pascarella said he will be in charge of all mayoral duties.
In March 2011, incumbent Morell was elected to his second term, edging challenger Fred Woller by a scant four votes.
Mayor Morell received 37 votes to 33 ballots cast in favor of Woller, who serves as a village trustee.
Morell’s resignation follows recent criticism by the New York State Comptroller over the accounting practices of the village. It also follows recent troubles Morell’s wife was having with making rent payments to the village for a storefront unit she is renting in the Fleischmanns Theater for use as a pizza parlor. The theater building was seized by the village in a lawsuit last year for non-payment of taxes.
On Monday, Morell said none of these matters had anything to do with his resignation.
“I didn’t resign because I had to, I resigned because I wanted to,” he said.
Morell, who works at the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center’s Ski Shop, said that tough economic times have put him in the position of having to choose either public service or family obligation.
“This winter has been tough,” he said. “I have to focus on my family right now.”
As for the issue of nonpayment of rent to the village for his wife’s pizza parlor, Morell said that is one of the things he must personally focus on.
“It has been tough getting customers at the pizza place,” he said.
“We are working on what bills to pay.”