ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Tory Kitching has not attended an Elmira City Council meeting since July, according to the City Council meeting minutes.
“Elected officials, you’ve got to be present to the people that elected you,” said Elmira City Councilmember Nick Grasso.
Constituents of his district are wondering; where is their councilman? The Republican was elected into the Elmira City Council to represent the 5th District. These residents now say they feel he’s failed to represent them.
“You have duties to your community, you were chosen for that position, and when you’re not doing your job or you’re due diligence for your community, that’s just unfair representation,” said Dante Dicesare, a City of Elmira District 5 resident.
“You just can’t do that, you have people that are relying on you,” said another District 5 resident, Laurel Muller.
But, Kitching continues to be paid even though he hasn’t shown up to work.
“There’s no progress at all if you’re just nowhere to be found, at the end of the day everyone has to show up to do their job in order to get paid,” said Dicesare.
In the last few months, there have been several meetings where the council has discussed various topics of importance to the community. For instance a close vote on the distribution of pandemic relief funds on August 3rd, and an October vote on the lease of five new police vehicles.
“No one voice is being heard if you’re not around to speak on anyone’s behalf or anything that’s involving your community,” said Dicesare.
City Council meetings have gone back to virtual. The Mayor of Elmira, Dan Mandell, says Kitching can join these meetings virtually- from wherever he is.
The mayor also told 18 News, that he has had to deal with angry constituents from Kitching’s 5th District.
But the mayor says there’s not much he can do, since Kitching is an elected official.
“You can’t be there for five months without going to a single meeting, you have no point in being there…put somebody in who wants to be in the position,” said Muller.
18 News reached out to Kitching. We emailed him and didn’t get a response. We called multiple times and he didn’t pick up. We even showed up at his last known address, and his ex-wife who lives there said she has no idea where he is.
Late Thursday night, he finally got back to us. While he did not want to do an interview, he says he has been transferred to Manhattan for work but is still passionate about the City of Elmira. He has no plans of resigning, yet he does not know when he will be transferred back to Elmira.
Kitching says he misses home, and he hopes to return, soon.