Press-Republican

January 7, 2013

City Council reorganizes for 2013

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh Councilor James Calnon was once again named mayor pro tem of the city, but some changes will be made in the way business is conducted.

Gone will be the second public comment period at each meeting, and gone will be weekly Thursday night meetings.

The council will move to biweekly meetings beginning with the Jan. 24 session, with committee meetings in between.

Calnon (I-Ward 4) said he believes the meeting changes will make city government more efficient.

“These changes are designed to make better use of all of our time,” he said.

“I think we can have more substantial discussions with less formality at committee meetings, and we will have several departments together at those meetings, and it could give us opportunities to find more efficiency between departments.”

IN-DEPTH DISCUSSION

Calnon also said that the weekly meetings are often less than 10 minutes long, and yet department heads are required to stay, adding to their work day.

“By meeting every other week, it will make the meetings more important, if you will, and we can discuss things in depth at committee meetings,” he said.

Four committees were formed, putting three councilors on each to cover the various city departments. The committees, which will replace council liaison positions, will meet at least six times per year.

“I like this idea because it will give some managers more opportunities to meet with the council and bring things forward that need to be discussed,” Councilor Chris Jackson (D-Ward 6) said.

COMMITTEES FORMED

There will be the Infrastructure Committee, which will include the Municipal Lighting Department, Public Works, environmental and engineering.

The Community Relations Committee will comprise the Building Inspector’s Office, assessor, recreation and community development. The Records Committee will include finance, clerk, court, historian and library.

And the Public Safety Committee will cover the police and fire departments.

Calnon, Jackson and Councilor Timothy Carpenter (D-Ward 1) will serve on Public Safety; Calnon, Chris Case (D-Ward 5) and Mark Tiffer (D-Ward 2) on Community

Relations; Jackson, Tiffer and George Rabideau (R-Ward 3) will be on the Infrastructure Committee; and Rabideau, Case and Carpenter will serve on the Records Committee.

Mayor Donald Kasprzak, who by charter is the only one allowed to make appointments via Civil Service laws, will handle Human Resources.

BIWEEKLY PAYROLL

The Clinton County Legislature meets twice a month on Wednesdays, and has committee meetings in between, similar to the city’s new arrangement.

Calnon said a committee-meeting schedule will be put out soon. Committees will meet at 5 p.m. on Thursdays when the regular council does not convene, and the sessions are open to the public.

Calnon said weekly city bills and payroll will be audited, as required, by the three councilors that attend committee meetings on the weeks when the regular council does not meet.

“Our goal is to eventually go to biweekly payroll, which will save money and time, and hopefully, we can accomplish that this year,” he said.

Email Joe LoTemplio: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com