What started out as turmoil in Ogdensburg, escalated to mayhem in the Maple City and now the hyperbole of the headline has raised the matter to something more apocalyptic.
"City's Implosion Began Months Ago" screamed the headline in this morning's WDT. I thought maybe the 'burg had sank into the St. Lawrence under the weight of a gazillion shad flies.
There is only one issue in the municipal elections this year in Ogdensburg and that is the city manager, Art Sciorra. I only met him once and twice and have no insight beyond what I read and hear from 60 miles away.
Mayor Bill Nelson is planted out on a limb and maybe as more comes out, he will be vindicated. For now, he seems to have made a cardinal mistake that I have told others on our Council not to do unless they are sure of the results, and even then they should think about it.
The mayor's job is to make the system work and if the city council (rightly or wrongly) wants to retain Mr. Sciorra (for qualitative or political reasons), then being extranged from the manager and indeed being attacked in the media by the manager is a serious problem.
The city council seems content to let this boil fester until the election consumes (presumably) the mayor.
The best way to avoid this dilemma under a weak mayor form of government is to not let it develop in the first place. After the election those who want to keep the manager now in order to defeat the mayor, will be pressed to explain why they want to still keep the manager when many of them have privately called for his head.
The most troubling line in this Times story is the allegation the mayor asked the manager to sit on a personnel issue until the deadline for filing petitions had passed.
I know this year for me, there were some issues that could have been swept into obscurity quite easily, and some would choose to avoid all controversy in an election cycle. I think you still have to govern, and if you do a good job the elections will take care of themselves.
Watertown Daily Times Dispute between Ogdensburg manager, planner began over grant program