Citing Frustration With Mayor, Plattsburgh Councilor Resigns

Feb 9, 2018

A Plattsburgh city councilor resigned at the end of Thursday night’s Common Council meeting, further exposing rifts between some city leaders and the mayor.

Factions on the Plattsburgh Common Council have split over the first-term mayor’s policies, leading to friction that occasionally flares between councilors.
At the end of Thursday’s regular session, Ward 5 Democrat Becky Kasper announced it would be her last meeting.  “My first three years of service I completely enjoyed the work I did.  This past year I have not enjoyed this work and in fact I feel, and I have felt often, that I have been complicit in some kind of tyranny of despair that we don’t have a vision of joy anymore.  So with that said I am effective with the end of this meeting resigning from the council.”

Kasper points her finger at Mayor Colin Read as an obstructionist and the key reason for her departure.  “The mayor has created a situation where he has created this wall.  And I’m sorry to say that you can have a conversation but it’s clear that the conversation’s not going to go anywhere. There is actually no real opportunity to have a give and take. And there’s this façade of transparency.  The transparency doesn’t actually exist. City government right now is the least transparent than I have ever been a part of.”

City Hall said Friday that Mayor Read was unavailable for comment.

Fellow councilors say they are sad that Kasper is leaving.  Ward 1 Democrat Rachelle Armstrong says she’s more disappointed than surprised.  “Becky I knew had been feeling very discouraged.  We’ve been in I believe respectful disagreement many times over the last year and a half and we’ve always been able to weather our disagreements.  I think the mutual respect that we share is the thing that has carried us.”

Ward 3 Republican Dale Dowdle says he tried to talk Kasper out of resigning but concedes that once she makes up her mind, she follows through.  “Some of the treatment that she’s received was uncalled for.  Most of her conflict I think was directly with the mayor and this was the end result. I’m quite disappointed to see her go.  We shared a lot of similar views.”

Following Kasper’s announcement at the meeting, an unidentified city resident stepped up to express concerns that it reflects poorly on how the city is governed.  "I feel that part of this is due to the way that some of the decisions have been made and lack of transparency. So that I hope that maybe we look at this to work more together as a council to everybody’s benefit.  It doesn’t serve anybody to work in little segments.”

Read praised Kasper’s contributions to the council during her final meeting.