City Council candidates interview for Walczyk seat


City Council candidates interview for Walczyk seat

WATERTOWN — One by one, each applicant hoping to replace City Councilman Mark C. Walczyk sat in front of a microphone on Tuesday night and lobbied why they should be appointed.Initially, each applicant had three minutes to say why he or she should be appointed to the soon-to-be vacant seat. Over the next 90 minutes, council members then had a slew of questions for the 15 candidates, four fewer than the original 19 applicants.Before the nearly three-hour work session, three candidates — Kara Smith, Calvin Stanley and former council member Stephen A. Jennings — never showed up. Earlier in the day, local attorney Bradford Riendeau also bowed out.Afterward, Timothy J. Babcock, operations manager for HP Hood LLP, LaFargeville, thought it was a fair process for the 15 remaining applicants. They were able to outline their experience and background.“It was like the ‘Hunger Games,’” he said, “with everyone going for it.”City officials said the city never received such a response for a vacant council seat before. In 2009, eight people were interested in succeeding Peter L. Clough when he left the council and moved out of the city.In the next couple of days, Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. plans to talk to council members individually about where the process goes from here. He told the candidates he’d let them know soon about what comes next.“It went well, better than I expected,” the mayor said.Council members asked questions about a variety of issues facing the city. Mayor Butler asked a hypothetical question about whether the group would still support replacing the Thompson Park pool if it came $1 million over budget. No one raised their hand.Most candidates indicated they believe the city should have a say in how many firefighters should be on duty at all times, the key sticking point in the four-year labor dispute with the firefighters’ union.Applicants had varied backgrounds and experience that included business people, a teacher, the former deputy city clerk, a retired state engineer, two people involved in local funeral homes and a city zoning board member.It wasn’t clear if any definitive front runners for the seat came out of the meeting.But Councilman Walczyk, who won election to the state Assembly last month, had some advice for the applicant who replaces him.“To the one selected, ask as many questions as you can to get to the truth,” he said.While he took part in the interviews, Councilman Walczyk will not have a say in who replaces him. City Council members cannot vote on his replacement until his seat is officially vacated on Dec. 31. The successful candidate must run for the office next year.Here’s a list of the 15 remaining candidates for Councilman Mark Walczyk’s seat:Former council candidate Cliff G. Olney III; State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie aide Sara V. Compo; and former deputy city clerk Amanda DeMar.Others are Darrell Main; Aaron Clemons, Lori Doldo Ring; Bruce Irwin; Timothy Drew; Timothy Babcock; Michelle Appleby; Patrick Hickey, Deborah Cavallario; Danny Francis; Jesse Roshia and Laurel Zarnosky.
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
City Council candidates interview for Walczyk seat

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