Press-Republican

July 24, 2013

City mayoral candidate raises questions

Calnon says other candidates did not file proper paperwork

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh mayoral candidate James Calnon says his opponents did not file the proper campaign finance paperwork this month, which should raise questions about their level of responsibility.

“Neither of my opponents filed a July Periodic Report, and Mark Tiffer hasn’t even registered his campaign committee,” Calnon said in a news release.

“It is that attention to detail that sets us apart.”

Calnon, a councilor from Ward 4, is running for mayor as the Republican and Independence party candidate. Also running are Mark Tiffer, a councilor from Ward 2 who has the Democratic and Working Families Party endorsements, and Chris Rosenquest, who grew up in Plattsburgh but has been living in Seattle and is running an independent campaign for city mayor.

RESPONSIBILITY CITED

Calnon, who has served as mayor pro tem and budget officer for the council since 2007, said filing the report might not be that serious a matter, but it could be an indicator of his opponents’ management skills.

“Is this a serious problem for a campaign of less than $1,000 so far? Probably not,” he told the Press-Republican. “But when dealing with a $52 million budget, it could be.”

Calnon said he has the experience and the ability to take care of such details, whether they be his campaign filings or the city budget.

“I have demonstrated that I am responsible, and I continue to demonstrate that,” he said.

CALNON SPENDING

Calnon’s July Periodic Campaign Finance Report showed that he took in $815.68 and loaned himself $2,000 from the time he formed his campaign committee in May until July 15, the deadline for filing.

He spent $2,366.52 for a balance of $449.16.

‘SIDE ISSUES’

Tiffer said his report was not filed, in part, because of a shakeup in his campaign team. He said Tim McCormick had been his treasurer but left the duties to concentrate on other Democratic Party campaigns.

Tiffer said that McCormick leaving was not the reason the paperwork was filed, but it did force him to find another treasurer.

McCormick told the Press-Republican that he is not part of Tiffer’s campaign team and was never the official treasurer.

Tiffer said he was taking over as the treasurer and would file the proper paperwork this week.

He also noted that since he did not spend more than $1,000, he is not required to file a detailed report.

“If he (Calnon) wants to focus on side issues like this and stay away from real issues, that’s fine,” he said.

“I know what I am doing with my campaign, and it will be taken care of. This is a non-issue.”

WORKING FOR CHANGE

Tiffer said his campaign is a grassroots effort among a core group of people in the city who believe in changing Plattsburgh.

“I don’t have the mechanisms or the machine that my counterpart more than likely has,” he said.

Tiffer said complaining about campaign filings takes away from efforts to solve serious city issues, such as having two unions — Plattsburgh Permanent Firefighters and American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees — working without a new contract.

“We need to focus on making sure that our city workers have fair contracts that are sustainable so taxpayers are not forced out of their homes, and this does nothing for that,” he said.

SUPPORT

Calnon, who is a registered independent voter but received the Republican and Independence party endorsements, said four unions are actually without a contract — the others being the Municipal Lighting Department and the Police Department — and that he has no machine.

“My ‘machine’ consists of my family and my own grassroots support,” he said.

“Mark Tiffer has the entire Democratic Party machine behind him. In fact, he is the treasurer of the City Democratic Party, which ought to have given him the experience he needed to meet the deadlines.”

FILED WITH STATE

Rosenquest said he did file the proper paperwork with the Board of Elections.

“Me and my campaign team have worked very closely with the New York State Board of Elections on managing our campaign finance reporting with integrity,” he said in an email to the P-R.

“To date, we’ve had no activity and have filed the appropriate reports under the advised timing of NYSBOE.”

A search of the New York State Board of Elections website showed that Rosenquest For Plattsburgh contained no itemized financial disclosure data, but the committee was acknowledged.

A search for Tiffer’s information showed no committees listed for a candidate with that last name.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com