PLATTSBURGH — With the unofficial 2019 Election Day results in, the City of Plattsburgh Common Council will welcome two new Democrats Ira Barbell and Paul DeDominicas to its table come Jan 1.
Forty-two-year-old DeDominicas ran unopposed for the Ward 4 seat, now held by Republican Peter Ensel, and ended with 98.4 percent of the votes.
Republican William "Bill" Ferris Jr., 58, was vying for the Ward 1 seat, but was edged out by opponent Barbell, who earned 67.5 percent of that ward's ballots.
"I wouldn't have done anything differently," Ferris Jr. told The Press-Republican. "I did what I said I was going to — I put my name on the ballot."
Down the line, Ferris Jr., the owner/operator of Big Apple Audio & Car Customizing in the City of Plattsburgh, said his fellow residents could see his name at the polling booth again.
"There's no rush to run again, but you never know. It could happen," he said. "I congratulate Ira, though. I'm sure he'll do a great job."
It was earlier this year that Councilor Ensel, who has sat on the city's six-member council since the 2016 election, said he wouldn't be running for re-election.
DeDominicas has background with the City of Plattsburgh, serving as the municipality's director of Community Development for two years prior to his resignation.
The SUNY Plasttsburgh graduate now works as grant administrator at architecture, engineering and land surveying firm AES Northeast in the downtown corridor.
During his campaign, DeDominicas said he hoped to resolve some contention that he felt was present between the city's officials and its citizens.
After hearing the Tuesday night results, the incoming city councilor said he was excited.
"I look forward to being able to serve the ward and working with the other city councilors," DeDominicas said.
The city's Ward 1 seat is currently held by Democrat Rachelle Armstrong and, like Ensel, the councilor announced earlier this year that she would not be running in this year's election.
She has held that seat since the 2013 election and was re-elected in 2016.
Prior to Election Day, both Barbell and Ferris Jr. had expressed concern with the city's budgeting processes.
Barbell, 73, had hoped the City of Plattsburgh could strike a stronger balance between the city's necessities and the values of its residents.
"Getting the city's budget to the place where the things that the people really want to have the city do and creating that balance where the taxpayers can support it," he said.
Alongside other Clinton County Democrats, Barbell was stationed at the party's Tuesday night headquarters Olive Ridley's Taphouse & Grill on Court Street.
While awaiting results, Barbell, who is the retired associate director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, said he hoped to expand the city's access to volunteers in order to up community involvement.
"There has not been enough engagement, in my opinion, or opportunity for residents in the city to play a role in city government," Barbell said.
And so, the future councilor said, he also hoped to change how often the city's residents had a chance to offer their feedback.
"I would like to see some way that when there's an issue, like assessing the rec complex facilities, that not only does the council gather information, but they set aside time for public hearings to bring people in and hear their ideas," he said.
The City Democratic Committee Chair Denise Nephew was at Olive Ridley's Tuesday night, too, and said she was thrilled to have Barbell and DeDominicas headed to the council's chambers.
The body is currently made up of Councilors Armstrong (D-Ward 1), Mike Kelly (D-Ward 2), Elizabeth Gibbs (D-Ward 3), Ensel (R-Ward 4), Patrick McFarlin (I-Ward 5) and Jeff Moore (D-Ward 6.
Though already in the majority, DeDominicas will replace the councils sole Republican and solidify a Democrat-leading council.
"That's five Democrats on the council to continue the work of controlling the budget and working together," Nephew said.
'KIND OF HUMBLING'
After hearing of his lead in Ward 1, Barbell said he was pleased with the results.
"People in the ward voted for me," he said. "I mean, that's kind of humbling after putting yourself out there and then getting support.
"I feel a strong sense of obligation to get on the council and represent not just the ward, but the city."
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