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Plattsburgh Common Council holds annual organizational meeting

Plattsburgh City Hall (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Plattsburgh City Hall (file)

The Plattsburgh Common Council held its organizational meeting Thursday to kick off the new year. The short meeting was highlighted by the nominee for Mayor Pro Tem initially rejecting the position.

The first council meeting of the year began with Mayor Chris Rosenquest swearing in newly elected Ward 1’s Julie Baughn and re-elected Ward 4’s Jennifer Tallon, fellow Democrats.

“Rise please and raise your right hands.”

Baughn and Tallon repeat the oath: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully discharge the duties of councilor of the city of Plattsburgh, New York according to the best of my abilities.”

As they finish Mayor Rosenquest offers, “Congratulations.”

The first official item was nominations for Mayor Pro Tem. The single nomination was for Tallon, but she startled the council when Mayor Rosenquest took the roll call.

“We’ll do a roll call. Councilor Baughn? Yes. Councilor Kelly? Yes. Councilor Gibbs? Yes. Councilor Tallon? No. (laughter) Okay. Councilor Bopp? No. Councilor Moore? Yes. Uh, carries. If Councilor Tallon would like to maintain that position I suppose there’s nothing apropos for that.”

Councilor Tallon says her no vote was a reaction to the shock of being nominated.

“I did not expect to be nominated for that position at all. So I just kind of, you know, reacted that way. And I think Councilor Bopp also reacted that way too, although kind of in support like, of if she voted no maybe I should vote no.”

Tallon did agree to take the position for now and is reassured that Councilor Mike Kelly, who has previously served as Mayor Pro Tem, plans to mentor her.

“Mike has already got this spreadsheet that tracks all of the projects going on in the city and their status and that’s been extremely helpful. And I very much look forward to working with the mayor more on a one-on-one basis. I was telling him since council is comprised of four women this year it kind of seems right to have a woman as the mayor pro tem. It’s definitely going to take some time to get used to but I’m honored to be doing this. I thought that perhaps maybe I might get Council Clerk again because I’ve served at that for the past two years. But this is something very, very different. And it’s going to be a new adventure, but a good one I think.”

Baughn was named Clerk of the Common Council. Departmental liaison committees and other boilerplate items such as approving rules, dates and times for council meetings were reviewed and approved.

City leaders then adjourned the organizational meeting and the regular meeting of the council began.

They received an update on the city’s Climate Task Force from chair Rachelle Armstrong, who said the city is making great strides in becoming a sustainable community.

“The greenhouse gas inventory and climate action plan for government operations will be getting underway soon. And that will serve as the basis for a plan to reduce those. The Common Council reestablished the Climate Task Force last April and we’ve made amazing strides and we’re fully expecting to be bronze certified in July.”

All six members of the Plattsburgh Common Council are Democrats.