By: Tom Duggan
Embattled Lawrence City Councilor Sandy Almonte, who represents the District “A” Prospect Hill neighborhood, has resigned from her position just one month after being arrested for assault and resisting arrest in Nashua, NH.
Almonte will be arraigned in Nashua, district court on September 9th.
The City Council has scheduled a special meeting on Thursday to accept her resignation.
They will then have the option to appoint a replacement, call for a special election, or leave the seat vacant until the next election (Nov, 2017).
Almonte, was elected in 2009 with the Lantigua administration.
Almonte said in an exclusive interview with The Valley Patriot on Tuesday, that her resignation has nothing at all to do with her arrest, stating that when people find out the real details of her case, they will see what was reported in the daily paper was not entirely accurate.
Almonte was in court Tuesday, where a District Court Judge in Nashua dismissed a stalking claim against her by her boyfriend’s date.
Almonte is charged with assaulting her outside a nightclub last month.
She said one of her problems leading to her resignation is that she cannot find an apartment in her district and that she is “essentially homeless”. She says she is staying with her brother in the district, and that being on the council means she cannot touch her retirement money in a time of financial hardship.
“I’m resigning due to the fact that I am in certain dire need of personal time after eight years on the council, and there being so much difficulty in the city, but, I want to make it very clear, my resignation has nothing at all to do with my arrest. Nothing.”
Almonte said that her greatest frustration sitting on the council in the last eight years, is that most of her fellow councilors were “puppets for the administration”, adding that the person who replaces her, and perhaps other councilors, will be hand-picked by Mayor Dan Rivera and his team.
“Now, it’s a matter of being able to have personal time after fighting so long, and so hard on the council. Right now, the fight is just unbearable, that I need my own family time to get my [act] together, so I can come back full force as I have for my family, and my city, for our city.”
RUNNING FOR MAYOR
“But, I will be back on April 1st,” she added.
April 1st is the date nomination papers become available for potential candidates in next year’s city election.
“Yes, I’m coming back, I’m running for mayor,” Almonte said detailing how tired she is of Mayor Rivera allowing attorney’s “who are friends of friends” to drag out expensive lawsuits against the city, “not to mention the people who were wrongfully terminated and now we have to pay them triple damages. The next mayor is going to have to pay all that out.”
She also cited that the administration raising property taxes has hit her district the hardest.
“The majority of homeowners in my district are elderly, they can’t afford that. But, friends [of the administration] who own LLC’s can come in and buy properties in the city for [pennies]. I don’t think that’s right.”
She also cited as a reason for running against Mayor Rivera next year, that the mayor hired the city council’s confidential secretary, instead of being hired by the city council. She said she is particularly troubled that “the executive branch under this administration has run over the legislative branch.”
Almonte says that Rivera is not the CEO of the city and is offended that he calls himself that.
“That would be like me asking people to call me madam mayor when I’m only a city councilor. He’s not the CEO he’s the mayor.”
Asked what she would say to her supporters who campaigned for her and supported her in the last election, she said she knows some of them will be disappointed, but they won’t be disappointed for long, and she looks forward to working with all of them again next year.
“I’m honored and proud of everyone who has supported me, especially after everything I’ve been through, the ups and downs, those who helped my family, and those families we were able to help. I’m looking forward to working with them again.”