There are always challenges in local government, but the situation in Ogdensburg is getting out of hand with one Councillor introducing a "censure" resolution against the mayor for allegedly violating the City Charter by sending an e-mail. When you read the particulars, its ludicrous and its a case of the system not working.
Ogdensburg and Watertown both have council/manager forms of government and that system has its good and bad aspects. However its the system in place and the job of the elected and the appointed is to make it work.
In the Maple City, one Councillor on his way out of office seems intent on making sure Mayor Bill Nelson joins him, so he is proposing a censure resolution, which is clearly a political stunt, no matter who you favor in the election.
In Ogdensburg, the manager has openly opposed the elected officials seeking his ouster rather than doing his job and leave those deliberations to the Council.
In Watertown, I have worked to keep the system working, and work out any differences without theatrics. You have to do it through persuasion and relationships as in this form of government, the electeds cannot just boss staff around and short of firing a city manager, there is no direct action available.
That's why when something like the Arena situation developed this year it was important to have maximum disclosure and a public process for devising new policies for the manager to implement.
The hiring of a superintendent for recreation is expected by the end of the month, according to a memo released this week. The budgetary adjustments and chain of command issues to set up Parks and Rec as its own department are also to be in place by months end.
The corrections were done without the devolution of process seen in the 'burg, and part of that may be the personalities involved. It is naive to think things will not go wrong and sometimes a relatively small event like the Knox Street home in the 'burg goes viral on you. ]
However, Tuesday's council meeting in Ogdensburg is going to be ugly and the showboating on these censure resolutions will challenge Mayor Nelson's ability to take charge and set the record straight, if at this point that's possible.
The Journal Accusations OnCity Council Agenda