Mayor breaks tie over new city employee

Malana Tamer 

PLATTSBURGH — A new planner has joined the city's Community Development office. 

Former Town of Plattsburgh Planning Technician Malana Tamer has filled that City of Plattsburgh role. 

Mayor Colin Read said he was excited to have Tamer on board, adding that her experience with the neighboring municipality was an asset. 

"She is familiar with the region," Read said, "which will make her an ideal fit to work with our planning and zoning boards.

"We look forward to tapping her expertise and creativity to foster a hands-on approach in working with our departments to identify goals and potential projects, and then find available grants and funding sources for these projects."

The mayor referenced projects like downtown's revitalization, development of the city's waterfront and various infrastructure improvements. 

"She will help ensure the city stays on an ambitious path toward our goals."


The city hired Tamer, effective July 9, at a base salary of $60,852.

Mayor Read noted that the wage was upped from that of former Planner Eva Schweber, whose last day with the city was July 3. 

In July 2018, that year's Common Council had appointed Schweber to the role with a base salary of $52,500. 

At the recent council session, Read said the increase was "solely due to having (Tamer) extend her work week to 40 hours, rather than 35 hours.

"It's not an actual increase in hourly rate."


The council approved Tamer's appointment at the latest session, but the vote had first led to a tie. 

City Councilors Rachelle Armstrong (D-Ward 1), Mike Kelly (D-Ward 2) and Jeff Moore (D-Ward 6) voted to approve the new employee, while councilors Elizabeth Gibbs (D-Ward 3), Peter Ensel (R-Ward 4) and Patrick McFarlin (I-Ward 5) voted against. 

Mayor Read broke the tie with an affirmative vote. 


Gibbs, Ensel and McFarlin said their negative votes were not a "no" for the new city planner. 

"I think she'd be great," McFarlin said of Tamer after the meeting. "Her resume was spectacular; she has great experience.

"The council is making an effort to hire people at less salaries — that was the issue."

Gibbs and Ensel said they had budgetary concerns, too. 

"I wasn't aware of the hiring salary until the agenda tonight," Councilor Gibbs said. "It's not against her, but I think we should have voted (the resolution) down and then renegotiated the salary.

"I'm very concerned about the finances for the city." 


Tamer brings with her a University at Buffalo bachelor's degree in urban planning and six-plus years experience with managing government programs. 

"Specifically affordable housing programs," she said of former roles with agencies like the Clinton County Housing Assistance Program. "And quite a few years of project-management experience, as well." 

While with the Town of Plattsburgh's Planning Department, Tamer reviewed site plans and presented review findings, as well as draft resolutions, to the municipality's Planning Board.

She also assisted with a variety of studies, supported community development projects and helped to secure grants, like the Battlefield Protection Grant, the TD Bank Green Grant and the Healthy Neighborhoods Initiatives Grant. 

Tamer said she's excited for the new city position. 

"The last two years working for the town has provided me with a very structured approach to site plan and subdivision review," she said.

"I hope to be able to review new development in the city with the same technical approach."


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