ULYSSES, N.Y. — Ulysses Deputy Supervisor Nancy Zahler was named interim-supervisor at Tuesday’s Ulysses Town Council meeting following the resignation of long-serving supervisor Elizabeth Thomas in February.
Despite Thomas’ resignation in the middle of her term, Zahler said she wasn’t surprised by the development.
“Informally she had been talking about the long hours and seeking a better work-life balance. The responsibility of being a town supervisor has been a lot for her, she has worked very hard for the town since 2006 in various capacities,” Zahler said.
Zahler, who first had to resign her position as deputy supervisor before being named interim supervisor, said that she will hold the position until a special election can be held in November to fill the seat for the remaining year left of the term.
“I don’t know if I will run to fill out the term, but I have been clear that I have no intention of running for reelection in 2022. I believe in term limits, and I think it is time for some new blood on the council,” Zahler said.
In the meantime, Zahler said she would like to spend her time as supervisor figuring out ways to help the town plan for the future.
“We have a wonderful comprehensive plan, but it is time to update and see if there are any new trends in the town we need to be aware of,” Zahler said.
As to the now vacant deputy supervisor position, Zahler said the town is taking applications with the hope of naming someone to the position as soon as possible.
“We will be interviewing applicants to try to find the best fit we can, but we don’t have an arbitrary deadline,” Zahler said.
Thomas, who submitted her letter of resignation on January 28, resigned as of February 21 in an effort to spend more time with her family.
“In 2004 I began my service to the Town of Ulysses by serving on a committee tasked with addressing stormwater issues within the town. During the past 16 years of service, I have been a part of successfully completing a number of challenging projects, and now I will be taking a step back from a long period of very intense work to instead be with my nonagenarian mother, my kids, a number of very cute grandchildren and a husband who is eager to travel,” Thomas wrote in her letter of resignation.
In her letter, Thomas highlighted the work she has done to make Ulysses more efficient both in terms of organization and environmentally.
“We obtained a $57,000 grant to purchase a 32-acre piece of land at the end of Salo Drive to not only be a natural area for walking and picnicking, but protecting Trumansburg Creek from development in the wetland area. If you haven’t taken a walk there, please do. It’s lovely,” Thomas wrote.
Despite resigning from her position as town supervisor, Thomas said that she will continue to stay involved locally.
“I end my tenure proud of the work I’ve been part of, and grateful to the staff and elected officials who have helped to move these many initiatives forward. As I began, so I will end, by retaining a seat on the Tompkins County Water Resources Council and also the Cayuga Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization to continue the very important work of preserving the quality of the water within the Cayuga Lake watershed. Work on how to prevent Harmful Algal Blooms is paramount, as well as addressing the many, many other threats to our precious Cayuga Lake. I will miss working with all of you, but look forward to continuing to serve the town in ways a bit less time-consuming than as Town Supervisor,” Thomas wrote.