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Carmel Town Councilman Resigns Retiring Employees Recognized

By Holly Crocco

The resignation of Carmel Town Councilman Stephen Baranowski was announced at the Dec. 13 Carmel Town Board meeting, when Supervisor Michael Cazzari read a letter from the councilman.

“I recently made a decision to resign my position as town councilman to focus on my health and help take care of a family member with dementia,” he wrote. “I have been wrestling with this decision for some time and it has been a very difficult one.”

Baranowski, who was elected to his seat in 2021, expressed his gratitude to the rest of the board and his constituents. His resignation took effect Dec. 13.

“It has been a pleasure serving the people of the Town of Carmel the past few years and I am grateful for all the support you have given me,” he wrote.

The town board can opt to appoint someone to fill the now-vacant seat, or leave it unfilled until the November election.

“Stephen will be missed,” Cazzari said, after reading Baranowski’s letter. “Thank you for your service in the military, and to this board.”

Also during the Dec. 13 meeting, retiring employees were recognized by the board.

Cazzari thanked longtime Highway Superintendent Michael Simone for his 26 years of service, Town Clerk Ann Spofford for 27 years with the town, and Councilman Robert Schanil for the four years he spend on the board – some of which he served as deputy supervisor.

Schanil thanked his colleagues for their friendship and support, including Cazzari and former Town Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt.

“I’ve been blessed to have worked with a fine group of people and appreciate the two supervisors I have served under,” he said. “I would also like to thank this wonderful community for your support and encouragement. It has certainly been an honor to serve in this capacity. It’s overwhelming how many people I have met along this wonderful journey.”

In addition to helping the town maintain a fair budget, Schanil said he is most proud of the food drive he and fellow Councilman Frank Lombardi organized during the pandemic that raised more than $25,000 in food and donations. “It was one of the biggest and most successful in the county,” he said.

The retiring councilman also thanked all the civic organizations that serve the community, as well as the various town departments, and welcomed incoming public servants.

“These newly-elected officials are young. They are vigorous and they are grounded in our community with their families,” he said. “They’re going to do a great job.”

Cazzari also acknowledged is outing chief of staff and assistant to the town board, Anne Pasquerello for her 22 years with the town.

“Anne, you’ve been a friend, you’ve been a confidant, you’ve taught me so much,” said Cazzari, who noted that Pasquerello has “pretty much been running the town the past 20 years.”

Assemblyman Matt stopped by the meeting to also express his gratitude for those leaving town government.

“We all know how hard it is to be a public servant sometimes,” he said. “Bob, you took it beyond serious… You did great things. I know that in a lot of ways you’ve left a real lasting mark on the town board.”

Slater said Cazzari was right in his statement that Pasquerello has run the town during her tenure, and noted that Simone has been a fierce advocate for the town while at the helm of the highway department, fighting for state funding and traveling to Albany to make sure his voice was heard.

“He’s been a great leader for the Town of Carmel,” said Slater.

Putnam County Legislator Erin Crowley echoed Slater’s sentiments.

“Anne has certainly taught me a lot,” she said. “You will be greatly missed. You are a great asset. You are a friend… Bob, you’ve served our community as a cop and moved into being a public servant. You are a selfless human being.”

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