Former city police lieutenant Scott Beebie is the Republican running for mayor of Plattsburgh. He retired in 2017 from the city police force after 28 years of service. He has served as vice-chair of the Plattsburgh city Republican committee but has not held elective office. Beebie says after nearly three decades on the city police force, he has the tools to lead Plattsburgh. Beebie tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that he’s hearing common concerns from voters in the city.
“When I go out into the communities I've been asked questions about the three biggest topics. One is the budget and fiscal condition of the city. The second is the DRI project downtown. And then the third is the pandemic. It seems like no matter where I go people want to talk about these issues. And then once we get past these issues then we talk about other issues which are also a priority of my campaign: the mending the fences, the regional approach, the working cooperatively with our municipal partners.”
Bradley: “With the budget, the DRI and the pandemic those are pretty much the obvious issues in Plattsburgh. How would you handle them as mayor?”
Scott Beebie: “The budget is obviously a concern for everybody and it's always going to be a large topic issue. It's where basically the rubber meets the road. So the department heads in their respective positions are already experts in their own budgets. So we sit down as a team. We come up with some innovative ideas. We have some working right now through the committee process that I have. And we work towards the common goal which is fiscal responsibility. I count myself as a fiscal conservative. We don't need to get to know each other because I've worked with most if not all of them in the past as a police lieutenant. So I'm very hopeful that once we are able to sit at the table, get real factual information which is difficult to get prior to the election, we're going to have some positive results. There's going to be some lean times because the sales tax revenue just isn't there. We all know that. The border closing has hurt our entire region. To that end we have to promote a regional approach if we're going to survive. We need to work cooperatively with our municipal partners: the town, the county, the Chamber, the Plattsburgh City School District, because I think that's the only way we're going to really sustain ourselves is to act regionally. The pandemic. Well, that's an interesting unknown isn't it? And this is where I think my strength lies compared to my opponent. I spent 30 years in law enforcement working directly with the unknown. Getting an immediate problem working on a solution that benefits everybody and then moving forward to the next problem. So I think that puts me in a much better position than my opponent when we come to the unknown future that the pandemic shows us.”
Bradley: “Scott Beebie you mentioned working on the cooperative regional approach. That's eroded a bit in the last few years. One of the things that has been at issue there is annexation, the land off of Ruger Street and also the lawsuit regarding the Falcon Seaboard property. Will those be off the table if and when you become mayor? Or do you know that much about what's going on to be able to make that call at this point?”
Scott Beebie: “The annexation property on Rugar Street I am still learning and researching that topic. But I do not have the critical information on the city side. I don't have an attorney prepping me or advising me. So for me to answer that right now I just can't do it. As far as the Falcon Seaboard I was a city employee and a District Three firefighter when that first started with the PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement, the town and city, so I actually got a chance to see both sides of the coin. I believe there's room there to take a look at certain issues. Again, I can't get factual real time information at City Hall because I don't have a seat at the table. But I'm not going to make any decisions until I'm well informed and I have a legal opinion. And as far as working with the Town of Plattsburgh, I've already started the process to start building a relationship. So I'm very confident that once I'm successful in November we're able to sit down as municipal leaders. We can have a very positive, amicable exchange of information and rebuild our relationship that currently is a little bit frayed.”
Bradley: “Scott Beebie, your opponent actually published some of his plans for the city, how he would work with the surrounding areas and stuff. You haven't done anything like that, right?”
Scott Beebie: “We have an approach that we are continuing to work with every single day. My opponent’s plan has timeframes which we really believe were an afterthought because it says, five months for an example, after he takes office he will you know talk about certain issues. We've been doing that since the start. We've been out there talking with municipal leaders, reaching out to our community, getting educated in topics that we weren't familiar with. We were making those efforts and those connections today right now. That's our approach. Not to win the seat and then start. We've already started. And once we're successful in November we're ready to go.”
Bradley: “Scott Beebie, in a normal election year you would be facing probably quite a few challenges as mayor. But you're also you know in a pandemic year. So from your perspective what do you think the biggest challenge as a new mayor you would face?”
Scott Beebie: “Oh, that's that's an excellent question. I think there's going to be more than one. I think the dealing with the unknown is going to be the caveat that's going to kind of push us where we go. If we have a huge uptick. If the border stays closed past the New Year. If these things come to pass that really provide us with a roadblock for rebuilding we're going to have to deal with them in real time. So how do we do that? Well, first of all is we get our team of experts which is our department heads. We come up with ideas. We sit down with the bargaining units. We treat our employees with dignity, respect and humanity, and we work towards the common goal under a team atmosphere. Now, also what we're going to have is a fiscal crisis. You know, we could end up in a deep recession or some may say a depression after all this. Again, the only way I see us surviving the immediate is to build a regional cooperative approach and let's work on mechanisms so we all survive. It's just not the city or the town or the school district. It's all of us. And we have such wonderful opportunities here that we're not taking advantage of and once we get over the hurdle of the pandemic that's when the real growth is going to start.”
Scott Beebie is the Republican running for mayor of Plattsburgh. He faces Democrat Chris Rosenquest in the November general election.