City of Plattsburgh voters have chosen a new mayor and councilors after years of steady guidance by Donald Kasprzak.
It will be a time of change for the only city in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, and we urge its new leaders to remember the central role the municipality plays as the area’s major population, government and business hub.
The city must be sound financially, as its economic health is vital not only to its residents and business owners but to the many people who live elsewhere but work — or play — within city limits.
But City of Plattsburgh leaders must pay attention to more than just its fiscal vigor. They need to promote ideas that will bring energy and growth to the city.
Residents made it clear throughout the campaign that while they definitely value spending restraint and a wholesome bottom line, they also want new ideas, a little passion.
Two former mayors come immediately to mind when we assess creativity in that position: Clyde Rabideau and Dan Stewart. Think what you may about their budget skills or political bent, most people would admit they had no shortage of inspiration.
Rabideau is now sharing his enthusiasm and abundance of ideas with the Village of Saranac Lake, where he presides as mayor. As he is in our coverage area, the Press-Republican has reported on a number of initiatives he has started or expanded.
As for Stewart, we heard from him just this week. He is living in Orlando and has a job as senior justice adviser for America’s Theater at Cisco Systems Inc.
“Things are great,” he tells us. “I am traveling the world — Quito, Ecuador, Los Angeles, Seattle and Denver in the next few weeks — doing my thing with technology enhancements for public safety (police cars, courts and correctional facilities, probation/parole etc.). All public-sector stuff, very interesting and exciting.”
He stays in touch with the happenings in Plattsburgh and reflected on the then-upcoming city elections: “I hope Plattsburgh picks a mayor with some level of vision beyond just fiscal prudence. I am alarmed by the negative General Fund projections for next year. Is that not the same way I was dinged? It’s all about health care and pensions in the end. The city is being left in a very bad fiscal scenario.”
He plans to be in touch with the new city administration, “offering some technology opportunities to the next mayor and council as a way of continuing my ‘distant’ connection to the city.
“I am doing some very interesting things with libraries and government agencies that could bode well for the ‘Burg. I will offer a no-cost pilot for them and see if they want to try it. In the end, technology will be the only offset to rising fiscal pressures.”
We implore the new city leaders to listen to Stewart, the losing candidates, residents, business owners — anyone who has suggestions.
Assess the ideas, come up with some of their own — make things happen. A city’s sparkle is far-reaching.