Ogdensburg city manager retires amid move to fire her

Updated: Apr. 24, 2020 at 1:33 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Ogdensburg City Manager Sarah Purdy has notified the city council she will retire June 26.

Her retirement heads off a move by Mayor Mike Skelly and his council allies to fire Purdy from the job she has held since 2015.

A resolution dismissing her was planned for as early as Monday’s council meeting. Her contract runs through June of next year.

“There were differences in my ideas and goals going forward for the city. We were very incompatible on those ideas,” said Skelly

Skelly said sales tax negotiations and police overtime were two of their biggest differences.

When asked if those tensions figured into her decision, Purdy said, “Everybody picks a time to retire at some point and I wanted to give the council enough notice so I can help with the transition.”

Purdy has supporters on the city council. Councilman Dan Skamperle said her expertise is needed now more than ever.

"This is the opposite wrong time to be pushing her out of here. And that’s what’s happening. She’s being pushed out. It’s very unfortunate,” he said.

Skamperle said Purdy commands the respect of department heads and he may mount an effort to have her stay.

Skelly said he wants to hire someone to replace Purdy.

“There’s a lot to be done in the city. We need a different perspective from the new manager,” he said.

Purdy started in the post in December 2015. She’s paid $118,000 per year. Her contract runs through June of next year.

The city of Ogdensburg is going to have to make hard choices in the next couple of months. Just like in other municpalities, the COVID-19 lockdown is causing significant shortfalls in its budget.

Possible cuts will be discussed at this Monday’s board meeting. Skelly is focusing on cutting police overtime.

Purdy was prepared to present an option which eliminates summer recreation camps.

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