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North Country News

City Councilor Resigns Seat And Bids Farewell To Plattsburgh Common Council

Ward 5 Councilor Patrick McFarlin attends his last Plattsburgh City Council meeting on July 1, 2021
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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Ward 5 Councilor Patrick McFarlin attends his last Plattsburgh City Council meeting on July 1, 2021

Plattsburgh city councilors bid farewell to one of their members who attended his last meeting Thursday evening.

Attorney Patrick McFarlin resigned from his Ward 5 council seat Thursday evening.  He has accepted a job at the Public Defender’s Office in Albany and will complete his move in mid-July to join his wife who is already working in the Capital Region.

McFarlin was first appointed as an Independent to the Plattsburgh Common Council in early 2018 by then Mayor Colin Read.  He replaced Democrat Becky Kasper who had resigned citing a hostile work environment.  McFarlin has since been reelected as a Democrat to represent Ward 5.   His tenure has included debate over the Downtown Redevelopment Initiative, or DRI, and a cryptocurrency moratorium. He has also been a leader in changing downtown parking policy.

Ward 3 Democrat and Mayor ProTem Elizabeth Gibbs said McFarlin was always the first person she called to discuss city issues.  

“I’m going to miss you so much Patrick,” Gibbs said. “If there was something I wanted to flesh out, discuss, strategize and I’m really going to miss your presence here. You take a fountain of institutional knowledge with you.  I mean tonight is the demonstration of everything you’ve amassed in knowledge for parking and basic urban planning. But I’m very thrilled for you and your family and I really wish you the best. We’re going to miss you.”

Although they occasionally clashed, Ward 2 Democrat Mike Kelly said he is sad to see McFarlin depart. 

“It’s always been a pleasure to chat with you about just about anything Patrick, particularly about things like parking issues and you always brought your legal perspectives to us free of charge!” Kelly said. “I think that was a great thing and I’m going to miss that tremendously.”

Ward 4 Democrat Jennifer Tallon is the newest elected member of the council and sits next to McFarlin. She joked about his dog. 

“I’m really going to miss you too because you’re not just another member of council you’re my friend and you sit next to me and I’m going to miss you,” Tallon said. “And I’m especially going to miss seeing Omar and the instant joy I get every time. We all know he’s Plattsburgh’s favorite dog: Omar!”

McFarlin then reminisced about current and former councilors as well as mayors during his tenure.

“I’m very sorry to be leaving,” McFarlin said. “I have had some good times. I’ve had bad times on this council too. We all know that. But I have loved working with the members of this council always. From the beginning Josh Kretzer [former Ward 6 Democrat/current Area 9 County Legislator] was on it. He used to sit right next to me. We used to have a lot of fun. Peter Ensel (former Ward 4 Independent) was on the other side of me and that was great. Mike’s (Kelly) always been there. But Rachelle. [former Ward 1 Democrat Rachelle Armstrong] I don’t want to start naming everyone because when I forget someone but everyone on this council has been great. I’ve had great relationships with everyone on this council, Mayor Read, Mayor Rosenquest has been fantastic. So I’m sad to be leaving. But I am very happy to know that the city is in good hands and is looking out for everyone’s best interests. God knows we’ve disagreed on things. I think I tend to get made fun of by some people for voting no a lot. But you know I never take it personally when someone’s disagreed with me. I’ve never been given too much guff when someone disagrees with me. So I will miss it here. I love Plattsburgh. It’s a fantastic place and I will definitely be coming back and visiting and I hope great things for the city and everyone on this council and everyone in the city and especially the city staff as well. The city staff has been fantastic.”

In an email to WAMC, Mayor Chris Rosenquest said that he has 30 days to recommend an appointment to the Common Council to fill the Ward 5 seat. If the council fails to approve that appointment, a special election will be held.  The mayor adds that he aims “to gauge interest and qualifications for those members who are interested in being appointed.” Rosenquest then plans to “meet with those interested and make the appropriate introductions to the Council and gauge support for an appointment.”