The Troy City Council President is apologizing two days after being arrested by New York State Police for driving while intoxicated.
Troopers say Carmella Mantello was stopped on Route 146A in Clifton Park after a driver called 911 to report another motorist driving aggressively. Police say the 53-year-old showed signs of intoxication and had a blood alcohol content of .13 percent. The Republican, also ticketed for following too closely, is due in Clifton Park Town Court January 3.
A spokesman for Troy Mayor Patrick Madden called it a “personal matter” and had no further comment.
Democratic City Councilor Anasha Cummings says the incident should serve as a wake-up call for Mantello and others during the holiday season to never drink and drive. "Obviously, it's too early to talk about her fate right now. She's innocent until proven guilty."
Mantello released a written statement Friday morning: "I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility. I apologize to my family, friends and constituents and am deeply sorry that I let you down. I expect more from myself. Finally, I would like to personally thank the New York State Troopers for their professionalism in this matter and the service they render every day to keep our communities safe."
Asked if Mantello should step down from her citywide elected position, council members appear to be supportive. Councilor Mark McGrath says he's glad Mantello is addressing the incident. "Certainly she's in a unenviable situation, but she's taken responsibility for her actions, and it's been my experience in life that the quicker you get in front of things and own up to things, they tend to go away. And I think down the line, people in Troy will appreciate the fact that she took responsibility for her actions and people will move on, because that's what we do here."
Again, Cummings: "I'm really sympathetic to the situation here and I imagine that Carmella must feel horrible. "
The council reconvenes next Thursday. Mantello, who has also run for mayor, was first elected council president in 2015 and is serving a second term. McGrath says we're all human. "Listen, none of us are without sin. If anybody wants to sit there and point fingers, we've all had problems and you know what? Some of us will in the future. So it's the way it is. We've all made mistakes."
Cummings urges holiday revelers to make sensible choices and explore options like Lyft, Uber and public transportation as alternatives to getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. "Driving while impaired is a serious crime. It's illegal and endangers the lives of innocent people, and there's really never a good reason to drive under the influence of alcohol. But ride-sharing, there's even more options to get home safely. Unfortunately though, a lot of the Capital Region communities were really designed to be dependent on cars."
Mantello is also employed as a legislative director for North Country Republican state Senator Betty Little. Little did not return a call for comment.