Watertown City Council seat still vacant, more discussion planned

WWNY Watertown City Council seat still vacant, more discussion planned

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - After interviewing two candidates over the weekend, Watertown City Council still has a vacant seat. We’re told council needs more time to think about it - but we’ve learned there may be more to it than that.

Two interviews this past weekend to replace Council Member Jesse Roshia seemed to have gone well, according to city council members.

But no choice was made. In fact, council may be going back to the drawing board.

“At the end of the day, what we’re talking about is giving someone political power. I would feel more comfortable if we could talk to more people, and I would feel more confident in our decision if we did interview a couple more individuals,” said Council Members Ryan Henry-Wilkinson.

He and fellow Council Member Lisa Ruggiero have said they’d like to see others interview for the vacant spot before a decision is made, with Ruggiero even reaching out to a council member who was appointed more than a decade ago.

Ruggiero tells 7 News she made a call to Jason Burto, a Watertown architect who filled a seat in 2009, after Council Member Peter Clough resigned.

Ruggiero says she contacted Burto because he had filled in before. She says he would have been interested in filling the seat for the rest of the year, but has plans to move out of the city this summer, making him ineligible to serve.

Council Member Sarah Compo says she’d be happy to sit alongside either Amy Horton or Ben Schoen, the two candidates interviewed this past weekend.

“I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the candidates’ backgrounds, what they would bring to the table as council members, and why they want to serve in that position,” she said.

Compo says Horton, an account executive with ABC 50 and a mother of five, and Schoen, a local contractor and business owner, would bring different perspectives to the council.

Mayor Jeff Smith says council should come to a consensus before they interview anyone else. He says he will be reaching out to council members this week to discuss.

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