PLATTSBURGH — James Calnon is so confident that nonprofit groups can have a positive effect on city life that he will be giving them a significant portion of his mayoral pay.
“I am going to give $500 a month of my salary to a group I think is working toward improving the quality of life in the community,” the city’s new mayor told members of the Plattsburgh Noon Rotary Club.
“I really believe this is the right thing to do.”
Calnon, 64, is retired from the New York State Department of Labor.
He was elected mayor last November after serving seven years on the Common Council. The job pays $75,689 per year.
As a councilor, he earned $10,000 per year for what is considered a part-time position. He has donated 10 percent of his salary to local causes for the past three years.
He pledged during last fall’s campaign that he would continue to donate part of his salary if he was elected mayor.
“I can do this, and if there are others who can only afford to give $5, $10 or $15, that would be great, so we can feel a little better about where we are as a community,” he said.
He made good on his pledge at Thursday night’s council meeting, when he handed a surprised Ashley Cousins, project coordinator of the Max Moore Memorial Tree House, a check for $500.
“Oh wow, thank you so much — we really appreciate it,” Cousins said.
“I’m glad to do this,” the mayor responded.
Calnon began his three-year term as mayor on Jan. 1. He told Rotary members in a 19-minute talk that while he still expects difficult budget years for the city coming up, the situation is better than it was when he joined the council.
“I think there are bright skies ahead and we can accomplish some good things,” he said.