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Plattsburgh’s New Mayor Discusses First Days In Office

Chris Rosenquest
Photo provided by Chris Rosenquest
Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest

Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest was ceremonially sworn into office to his first term on January 4th and held his first full Common Council meeting three days later. This week, the Democrat talked about his first full week in office with WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley and described some of the changes implemented during his first council meeting.

“The biggest thing was, you know, obviously the organizational rules that will set the tone for the year. And we do have a committee structure. We're going to every other week meetings. And other than that it's pretty straightforward. Not a lot of structural changes. But then also we passed the budget. Which was hands down one of the most important things that we needed to do going into the year was get that budget passed. And it was nice to get that off the table so we can move forward.”

Bradley:  “I think some people might be a little bit confused about that because at the last meeting in December everybody thought the budget was passed.”

Mayor Rosenquest:  “Sure the council's budget was approved and then there needed to be amendments to that budget that was then passed,  the individual amendments that outlined lines of expenditure and revenue in each budget item or each department. But that's really what that vote was is to finalize the individual fund expenditures and revenues.”

Pat Bradley:  “Now, are you jumping right into the 2022 budget now?”

Rosenquest:  “No, no, we'll wait to probably see how things pan out. I know that with changes at the federal level we're hoping to see some of that unencumbered, direct federal aid to municipality. Right now it is a matter of getting our hands on the current budget, processing through some of the work that we see that we need to do based on that budget, and then planning for that next the next year. Because there's a lot of work to do this year and we really do want to see how the federal government pans out.”

Bradley:  “Mayor Chris Rosenquest.”

Mayor:  “Yes.”

Bradley:  “You have been in office now less than two weeks.”

Rosenquest:  “Yeah. We have accomplished so much in this last week. There have just been things that have just been hanging over the heads of our department heads. And we've just needed to make some decisions moving these things forward. And it's been nice. I want people, our department heads and our city leadership to understand that I'm available. I want them to be able ask questions. I want it you know, they understand that there's transparency and there's a level of trust that needs to be built into this process. And that's that's really what I've been thriving for.”

Pat Bradley:  “Mayor, you've mentioned a couple times in the last week you've dealt with and taken care of a few things that were hanging over the department heads’ heads. Can you clarify what some of those things were?”

Mayor Rosenquest:  “Some of them are internal like employee matters so I can't go into the details of that, right? Because it's just I just can't do that. But there's some legal issues still pending, haven't been resolved. These things need to get resolved. They need to get resolved quickly. And they need to be done with integrity. And that's really what I've been working on with both the legal team and the department heads on resolving. And it's been, like I said, it's been productive. People have been very responsive to it, very supportive for it. And I feel like we can continue that momentum.”

Bradley:  “Speaking of legal things any decision yet on what course will be taken regarding things like Falcon Seaboard and the annexation stuff.”  

Rosenquest:  “Yeah, not no decision, no final decision yet. And I think that's going to really come down to that partnership that Supervisor Cashman and I have, and we do have a great partnership. And I do say, if, if things don't progress as well as we want them to, which I don't feel like that's not going to be the case. I think we're going to come up to a come to a really solid sound decision for both of our communities that that make the most sense. However, if if they don't progress that way, Michael Cashman and I both have the understanding that that's not going to impede us from moving forward. There certainly is some issues that need to get resolved. That doesn't mean we need to wait for those things to get resolved before we can start looking towards the future. You know there might be an opportunity and I feel strongly that there's an opportunity for us to work well together. And Supervisor Cashman, you know, without putting words into his mouth, I think he would agree. And it's now just a matter of us determining what that looks like and moving it forward regardless of those kinds of things that could be a potential distraction to that progress moving forward. Both he and I certainly have the same mindset that the work that we're doing now, it has to be generational. We have to look at what impact this is going to have over the next 20 - 30 years, as well as maintain and manage the day to day minutia of what it means to run a municipality. So, you know, I believe that we're both on the same page with that. And moving forward you know I think we'll come to a good solid resolution to those issues.”

Bradley:  “So in some ways are you saying we're trying to find ways to work around the legal constraints that you're bound by right now until you can figure out a resolution?”

Mayor:  “I think that I think that would be a good way to put it. I don't think we're trying to work around something. We certainly are trying to get something resolved and I think both of our attitude is that let's get something resolved before it's more detrimental and before it costs our municipalities more money than it needs to. But then the other thread is how do we grow our municipalities together? How do we, you know, work together better? How do we create regional growth and move our region forward together?”

Bradley:  “Mayor Chris Rosenquest.”

Mayor:  “It sounds weird still. (giggles) It really does. It just sounds weird. But thank you. I appreciate your time and it’s always great to see you.”

Bradley:  “Thank you.”

Chris Rosenquest:  “Yeah thank you.”

Mayor Rosenquest proposed and the Plattsburgh Common Council approved changing their meeting schedule from weekly to bi-weekly, on the first and third Thursday of the month.

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