New Windsor appoints fire official to replace Ecker on Town Council

November 05, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

The New Windsor Town Council appointed the assistant chief of the town fire company last night to replace Everett Ecker, a second-term councilman who resigned last month.

Ronnie Blacksten, 38, who works for Lehigh Portland Cement Co., said the council approached him about joining four days after Mr. Ecker's resignation.

Council President Kenneth Green said, "We got together one evening and came up with a few names of people to replace Everett, and I believe we got a good councilman."

Mr. Blacksten was recommended, appointed by a unanimous vote and sworn in at last night's meeting. He took a seat at the council table with the rest of the members and was given a plaque bearing his name.

As he was being congratulated, Councilman Kenny Grimes waited until Mr. Blacksten was seated to say, "I will shake your hand now that you have taken your place because you have a lot of work to do."

Mr. Blacksten remarked, "It feels like a challenge, and I am excited."

The council began seeking a new member after Mayor James C. Carlisle received Mr. Ecker's resignation dated Oct. 10, three days after last month's meeting.

Town Manager Richard Warehime said the mayor and council did not announce the resignation at Mr. Ecker's request.

"We were under the impression he wanted to keep it private," Mr. Warehime said.

Mr. Ecker said he left his position with the council because of health problems.

"I have been fighting this for some time," said Mr. Ecker, 68, who was in the first year of his second term. "I just figured it was time to cut it [his council work] off.

"I'm out and that's that."

Mr. Carlisle said Mr. Green would now chair the water and sewer committee, formerly Mr. Ecker's task.

Mr. Blacksten will fill Mr. Green's old post as chairman of the police and enforcement committee.

Mr. Ecker has had several heart operations, including one after a heart attack he suffered in the first year of his appointment in 1987.

"I think it was a stressful job. I was responsible for a lot of things," Mr. Ecker said. "Whenever something was needed, I did it."

Mr. Ecker said his relationship with the council has been very positive and he has "no hard feelings against anyone."

Although his doctors did not say he needed to resign, Mr. Ecker said he felt he needed to step back and concentrate on his health.

"I am no worse than I was three weeks ago, but I think it is time to stop being on the council," he said.

Mr. Carlisle, who graduated from New Windsor High School with Mr. Ecker in 1941, said the former councilman will be missed and his energy will be difficult to replace.

"He was a fine councilman and worked hard at the job. He was always available for anyone," said Mr. Carlisle.

"Since he had the [New Windsor Hardware] store," Mr. Carlisle said, "people would go in and talk to him any time."

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