PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County Legislator Simon Conroy (D-Area 4) described the last 30 days as an unusual month for him at the legislature’s meeting Wednesday night.
On Sept. 6, Plattsburgh City Police arrested Conroy on City Hall’s steps and charged him with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct, a violation, following a disturbance downtown.
The police then took him to the University of Vermont Medical Center, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital for an evaluation.
About a week later, City Police Chief Levi Ritter told the Press-Republican Conroy would be facing an additional charge of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor, for alleged cocaine possession.
In a prepared statement which he gave during his Economic Development and County Operations Committee report, Conroy said he had spent some time in the CVPH emergency room.
Regarding his arrest, he only spoke about the disorderly conduct charge.
“I believe the charge is fraudulent and due to a particularly corrupt law enforcement officer.”
By his account, Conroy had run into the mayor’s office while on his way to a doctor’s appointment to discuss a multi-million dollar advanced manufacturing site.
“I ran in the building to talk to the mayor, I had just had an altercation with police before that, and I was winded.”
Conroy believes he suffered a mid-life crisis over the last 30 days, and said he endured trauma which has been uncharacteristic for he and his family.
“Please accept my deepest and most heartfelt apologies for my absence here in the chamber, at home with my kids and around town.”
Conroy concluded his statement by announcing his candidacy for chairman of the legislature, once Harry McManus (D-Champlain, Area 1) steps down at the end of this year.
“I believe I am up for the task and I am willing to serve," he said.
“I believe the county is an important institution to help people, number one, with mental health, addiction, crisis and trauma issues.”
Following committee reports and just prior to resolution votes, Conroy got up to leave the legislative chambers and told members of the media that that would be their chance to get a comment from him due to the length of an upcoming executive session.
Asked what he was treated for at CVPH, Conroy referred to his Irish family of farmers, contractors and adrenaline junkies.
"I would say the biggest issue is anger management.”
Conroy said he could not be happier about running for chairman, and does not believe it will be an uphill battle given everything that happened recently.
“I’ve received a roughly a million-dollar education over this past month during not only a mid-life crisis where I was depressed, but also a bender where I was high.”
Conroy said the cocaine charge was bizarre to him.
“I was living at CVPH on the Friday that they reported that.
“I don’t know how I could be in possession unless it was one of the meds administered by the doctors at the emergency room.”
Conroy said he has to appear on resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, the two charges he signed off on.
“I was on the radar of the police; they were probably worried about me," he said.
“I had to spend a lot of time downtown to understand the value of the property we were looking at,” he added, without specifically naming the property.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Conroy said he has ideas for every county department that he would bring in as chair, such as a flight from Plattsburgh International Airport to Fort Lauderdale.
Although Conroy mentioned flights to Fort Lauderdale, the such flights from the airport already do exist.
He would also like to see a solar farm as part of the county's Industrial Park.
“We don’t want to wait forever for dream Laurentian to come along.”
McManus said he has told Conroy that he believes he should take more time as a legislator before moving on to the chair position.
“I was on the board for eight years before I became chairman,” McManus said.
Asked about the legislature’s thoughts on Conroy’s behavior, McManus pointed to his prior comments.
“At the time when we spoke to Simon, we all agreed that he needed some help and I hope he’s getting it, I hope he is progressing along. Certainly the return, I guess, is part of that process," he said.
“Beyond that, it is a work in progress. We’ll wait and see where we are.”
In his final three months as chair, McManus would like to see Conroy continue to improve at each meeting.
“I’m hopeful that we will have just committee reports and not have other statements," he said.
“I think he’s made his statement, he has said what he had to say, and I hope we can now get back to what I would consider to be regular order.”
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