The abrupt departure of Councilwoman Pam Tarlow left Rye’s political parties scrambling against the clock to vet candidates to appoint her replacement. That person will also have to run in the November 2 election.* Had Ms. Tarlow informed the City Council about her move in advance, time and calm could have attended the process. For the record, Tarlow NEVER submitted a letter or formally told the Mayor and Council about her leaving.
As early as June 27, Tarlow told the City Manager she was contemplating a move and would announce it when appropriate. She requested confidentiality, which the City Manager obliged. It was not until the City’s Corporation Counsel, Kristen Wilson, having heard from Tarlow about her “confidential” move, felt ethically obliged to inform the Mayor that 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 22 Council meeting. Tarlow’s lack of professionalism is baffling.
Prior to the Council meeting, Tarlow asked Wilson for an assurance that, if she didn’t attend the meeting, no one on the Council would make comments critical of her.
It was Tarlow’s decision not to attend the July 22 meeting. No one told her she could not attend, nor did anyone say that he/she would speak ill of her at the meeting.
Per Councilwoman Sara Goddard’s suggestion that the Council should have thanked Tarlow for her service to the community at the meeting, it was rather hard to do so given that Tarlow sent a surrogate, Suki van Dijk, who falsely claimed that the Mayor and Council threatened Tarlow.
To provide more background and transparency about the timeline of events, particularly the fact that the Council was NOT informed by Tarlow about moving out of Rye and that NO ONE threatened her, we received the following timeline from Kristen Wilson:
- Tarlow began telling Wilson of a possible move in very early July, asking Wilson to keep it confidential. Tarlow said she would give the Council at least two weeks’ notice.
- On July 9, Tarlow told 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. Wilson told Tarlow that she was putting her in a very uncomfortable situation.
- On July 20, with Tarlow having made no announcement to the Mayor or Council and a meeting two days away, Wilson decided that, ethically, she had to inform the Mayor that Tarlow was no longer a Rye resident and had vacated her Council seat.
- Neither Wilson nor the Mayor ever threatened Tarlow in any way. Wilson was not aware of any basis for legal action against Tarlow. In their conversations, it was Tarlow who brought up the risk of legal action.
- Tarlow refused to tell Wilson whether she intended to attend the Council meeting and demanded to be seated on the dais on July 22.
- 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 strife we have endured with Pam Tarlow as a Council member.