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North Country News

Appointment Of Caitlin Bopp To Plattsburgh City Council Ratified

City councilor Caitlin Bopp attends her first meeting after being sworn in
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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City councilor Caitlin Bopp attends her first meeting after being sworn in

Former Plattsburgh Ward 5 Common Councilor Patrick McFarlin resigned on July 2nd because he was moving to Albany. Mayor Chris Rosenquest announced this week his appointment to fill the vacancy, and the council ratified Caitlin Bopp Thursday to fill the seat until the end of the year. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was at City Hall for the vote and then spoke to the city’s newest councilor.Democrat Caitlin Bopp was unanimously and enthusiastically approved by the common council Thursday night.

“The mayor hands down the appointment of Caitlin Bopp to the vacant Common Council seat of Ward 5  beginning July 30th, 2021 and expires December 31, 2021.”
Mayor Rosenquest: “Motion my Council Tallon. Second by Councilor Gibbs. Discussion?”
Councilor Jennifer Tallon: “Let’s do this!”
(Roll Call – all yes)
Mayor Rosenquest: “Carried.”

Following the ratification, Bopp went to the office of City Clerk Sylvia Parrotte to be sworn into office.  “Raise your right hand and repeat after me: I do solemnly swear.”
Bopp: “I do solemnly swear.”
Parrotte: “That I will support the Constitution of the United States.”
Bopp: “That I will support the Constitution of the United States.”
Parrotte:  “And the Constitution of New York.”
Bopp:  “And the Constitution of New York. And that I will faithfully discharge the duties of Councilor Ward 5 of the city of Plattsburgh, New York according to the best of my ability.”
Parrotte:  “And congratulations.”
Bopp:  “Thank you so much. It’s an honor.”

Before she attended her first official meeting, Councilor Bopp told WAMC former Councilor Patrick McFarlin approached her before he left wondering if she would be interested in filling his seat.  "So I talked to Pat about kind of the bare bones of what it would entail. And then I met with some more people. So then when the mayor did open it up to everybody to submit their letter and resume I did so. And I never made any assumptions. It's been pretty fast. But I'm happy to be here and I'm looking forward to running in November."

Pat Bradley:  "What intrigues you most about being a city councilor?"

Bopp:  "Definitely being able to help the community. That is, you know, that's what I came to the North Country to do. It's what I've spent most of my career doing. It's something that's always been very important to me on in whatever capacity. So far it's been through working with children and families. But to me this is just the next extension of that. It's the opportunity to take a lot of the skills I've learned in care management, planning, and working with people from all different backgrounds and all different skill levels and all different kinds of expertise to come to solutions to complex problems. I think those things are going to really suit well to the position of city council."

Bradley:  "What issues do you want to focus on as a city councilor for Ward Five?"

Bopp:  "My very first order of business as a council person is going to be to learn. This is definitely my first experience in this arena. So in the beginning what I want to learn the most about is the the details of these issues that are affecting the city. You know the boat basin issue. There's certainly a certain amount of information available to the media or available to the public. But there's things that are only available to the council and the mayor and other members of the city, stuff that's confidential, that is really important information that helps guide those decisions. So when it comes to anything, any issue like that, I'm really interested in learning those details before I come forth with any kind of position. And as far as my own goals for the city or what I'd like to advocate for I think Plattsburgh is a really beautiful vital city with a great history and a really great potential for the future. And I just want to see that. I want to see it be appreciated and I want to see it be alive in the way that it can be. I want to see downtown be a lively, active vital place. And I want it to be a safe place too. So you know there's there's a lot of different things that come to mind just from being a citizen kind of on the small level. But on the bigger scale that's where I think my first focus like I said is going to be learning about council, learning about how the city works, learning how government works and getting elected in November. And then I think if I do get elected by the people, which is really important to me, then going into the next three years, that's when I would start to say 'okay, what do I personally bring? What are my personal values that I want to bring to bear and how can I do that?"

Bradley:  "One of the nitty gritty things that the city council has to do is deal with the budget. How are you at number crunching and dealing with a budget and a multimillion dollar budget?"

Bopp:   "Yeah, well I'm pretty good with numbers.  I'm certainly no math whiz and I would never claim to be. But what I am good at is I am good at being resourceful. And I am good at finding people who are good at those things and talking to other people and consulting and then, you know, using my own judgment to bear on that. You know, one of the things I had to do for my care management job was work in Medicaid budgets. So I would work with, you know, families to develop the budget for services and that could entail quite a bit. So I did that for a long time. So at least from that perspective I'm used to having to sort of balance certain needs against other needs, things like that. So I think I've got the base skills."

Bradley:  "You hinted at what you do. What do you do and how will that help you as a city councilor?"

Bopp:  "Right now I'm a children's care manager. I work with children and their families to ensure that kids have the services they need and families have what they need to succeed. Most of the kids I work with have some pretty severe needs whether that be social, emotional, medical, or some other type of disability. And of course the families many times have financial needs, might have housing needs, things like that. It's really made me understand the needs of families, especially working families in lower class families and the importance as a city of making sure that the decisions that we make honor those families. Any decision we make we have to be looking at obviously who and what stands to gain but also who stands to lose and what that means."

The Plattsburgh City Charter requires a council appointee fill a vacancy “until a person is elected to serve the remainder of the unexpired term takes office.”  Bopp will hold the seat until December 31st and plans to run for a full three-year term in the November general election.  

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