In a letter provided to MyRye.com Monday afternoon, four City Council members and the Mayor refute Councilwoman Pam Tarlow’s account of her departure from the Rye City Council. Councilwoman Sara Goddard, the sixth and final member of the council, was not a signatory to the letter.
“City Council Members Put Forward The Facts
As current City Council members, we feel that Rye residents deserve to know the truth about Pam Tarlow’s departure from the City Council. As an elected public official who claims to be “true to good government principles and the needs of Rye residents,” Ms. Tarlow found the time to search for and close on a house outside of Rye and move into that house without telling the Council. As early as June 27th Ms. Tarlow told the City Manager she was contemplating a move and would announce it when appropriate, she requested confidentiality, which the City Manager obliged with. It was not until the City’s lawyer, having heard from Ms. Tarlow, about her “confidential” move, felt ethically obliged to inform the Mayor that Ms. Tarlow had moved out of her Rye home with no intent to return and therefore had vacated her office as a matter of law. This was two days before the July 22nd Council meeting. Ms. Tarlow’s lack of integrity and professionalism is shameful.
Ms. Tarlow then asked the City’s lawyer for an assurance that if she didn’t attend the July 22nd Council meeting that no one on the Council would make comments critical of her. She now tries to paint the assurance that she received as a threat against her. This is both false and another baseless attack on her colleagues.
Instead, as she has demonstrated with this final astounding dereliction of duty, Ms. Tarlow has twisted the facts.
To provide more background and transparency about the timeline of events, particularly the fact that the Council was NOT informed by Ms. Tarlow about moving out of Rye and that NO ONE threatened her, we received the following timeline from City Council Kristen Wilson:
- Ms.Tarlow began telling Ms. Wilson of a possible move in very early July, asking Ms. Wilson to keep it confidential. Ms. Tarlow said she would give the Council at least two weeks’ notice.
- On July 9, Ms. Tarlow told Ms.Wilson that she had in fact bought a house in White Plains, had moved in with her family, was sleeping in White Plains and was returning to her leased house in Rye only to remove remaining personal belongings. Ms. Wilson told Ms. Tarlow that she was putting Kristen in a very uncomfortable situation.
- On July 20th, with Ms. Tarlow having made no announcement to the Mayor or Council and a meeting two days away, Ms. Wilson decided that ethically she had to tell the Mayor that Ms. Tarlow was no longer a Rye resident.
- Neither Ms. Wilson nor the Mayor ever threatened Ms.Tarlow in any way. Ms. Wilson was not aware of any basis for legal action against Ms. Tarlow. In their conversations, it was Ms. Tarlow who brought up the risk of legal action, and that would have been potential legal action only against the City if it followed a decision of a Council with an improperly seated member.
- Ms.Tarlow refused to tell Ms. Wilson whether she intended to attend the Council and demand to be seated on the dais on July 22nd.
- Ms. Tarlow never had a conversation with the Mayor or any of the undersigned about her move.
As Democrats, Republicans and Independents, we look forward to working together in a collegial and non-partisan manner for the betterment of Rye citizens and without the unnecessary strife we have endured with Ms. Tarlow as a Council member.
Councilmember Pam Tarlow has a lease on a home in Rye until July 31st. She is a Rye resident until then. (Otherwise, anyone who spent any time at another one of their homes would be ineligible.) The City Council’s behavior towards Pam is reprehensible, and this continued insistence on pushing a ridiculous narrative is incomprehensible. These people are supposed to be our representatives. Admit you handled this badly, say good-bye to a fellow volunteer public servant in the common and decent way and move on with the business of the city. This is not the sort of petty vindictiveness Rye should be known for. It’s embarrassing.
Does a permanent move out of Rye render a Council member ineligible to continue serving? Those of us who are not municipal lawyers should probably have the humility to respect the Rye Corporation Counsel’s word that yes, it does.
Shall we ask the Corp. Council to go on the record at the next City Council meeting as to whether having a lease on a property in Rye means you are a Rye resident? As certified by the Westchester County Dems, Pam is no longer eligible to be a Rye District Leader after July 31st when her lease in Rye runs out. This argument is not only petty, and unnecessary, but it is also patently ridiculous. I can’t imagine why any adult would continue to push this nonsense, which is disrespectful to a fellow volunteer and disrespectful to the norms of our society, but it certainly shows their true colors. It is an embarrassment that they couldn’t just behave like reasonable polite adults, say “thank you for your service. we wish you the best” just like every other elected body has done since time immemorial. As our representatives, this behavior reflects badly on all of us.
I’m wondering if Rye will benefit having a 100% lickspittle city council?
Good question –
Very good question.
Just the nature of this article demonstrates that this current regime does not know how to work collegially or in a non-partisan manner. How many character smears do they need to engage with? It is simply shameful. Unfortunately, this group (current council & Mayor) have demonstrated that they will only work with those that agree with them – those that don’t are attacked and belittled.
This really did not need the response given by this city council & mayor- yes, she was moving, yes she bought a house elsewhere, yes she gave notice and yes, she had a lease in Rye whilst she was in the process of changing households. Seems to me it was resolving itself and did not require all of the hoopla from the supposedly collegial council & mayor. Another example of a ridiculous use of the taxpayers time and dollars! Shame on you!
Yes, shame on the City’s electeds and appointees. When Susannah Keith stepped down from the City Council in 2012, the mayor acknowledged her departure. Consideration took precedence over the letter of the law. At the most recent City Council meeting, those on the dais pretended Ms. Tarlow never served, as if she was Voldemort – “she who must not be named”. Interesting that the current administration is not so hyper-focused on the letter of the law when it came to allowing Emily Hurd to continue on the Rye Town Parks Commission while she resided in another state. Cohn et al leave a legacy of disappointment.
Good point about Emily Hurd – seems there is a double standard at play here. Unfortunately, we are stuck with this for a while. I do hope this crew cleans up their act!
I would lower expectations when it comes to Cohn et al to clean up their act. This is a group of electeds whose first response was choosing pettiness over informing the public about next steps for filling the City Council vacancy. If the Council truly wants the trust that accompanies genuine leadership, they would post the city code and election laws instead of engage in a petulant schoolyard snit. Moreover, they would invite input from the citizens.