OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Ogdensburg’s new city manager pledges to work with unions. He wants to get a fire chief and police chief on board and has other plans.
Stephen Jellie will be walking into Ogdensburg City Hall every day and then into the city manager’s office.
And he’ll also be walking into heated city council meetings.
Jellie says he has heard about all that: the fractious council, the controversies over police and other cuts.
“It’s a good time to take a step back, kind of reassess where you are and be prepared to give your full effort to the team. And what’s in the best interest of the city moving forward,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean moving slowly. He said filling the vacant jobs of fire chief and police chief can’t wait.
“We’ve got to move right away on both. Both are critical leadership positions to the city management team, as well as they’re essential to the leadership in each of those organizations. So we have to take decisive action,” he said.
Jellie was a deputy fire chief at Fort Drum. He once was in charge of all fire and emergency services for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan.
“Public safety is my background. It’s where I’m strongest. And again it’s where the largest piece of the budget goes in this commmunity,” he said.
Jellie wants to keep the mayor and council informed with unbiased information. He pledges unions will be “full partners” in decision making.
The new interim city manager is also walking into major construction projects like the complete rebuild of the city’s water pollution control plant.
The city also has $8.3 million more in hand for waterfront projects. Jellie and Mayor Mike Skelly discussed those Thursday.
“The mayor is certainly energetic. He’s got a vision for the city,” said Jellie. “He just wants what’s best for the city of Ogdensburg and I believe he will reach his goals.”
Jellie as interim replaces Sarah Purdy, who the council placed on leave in May until her June retirement. He’ll be paid $1,500 per week under a six-month contract.