Council to interview candidate for vacant seat

Updated: Mar. 25, 2021 at 3:07 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The deadlock over filling a vacant seat on the Watertown city council may soon be broken.

City council member Lisa Ruggiero said Thursday that the council has agreed to interview Leonard Spaziani of Chestnut Street for the position left open when Jesse Roshia resigned at the end of January.

Ruggiero said she anticipates the interview will take place either Tuesday or Thursday of the coming week, and she’s pushing to have it open to the public.

“I just believe in transparency,” she said.

Mayor Jeff Smith said he’s not available in the coming week, so an interview would likely have to take place the week after. As for holding the interview in public, Smith said he’ll do what the majority of the council wants.

Ruggiero said Spaziani approached her about filling the position.

“He’s been vocal. He’s not a shy person - I think he stands up for what he believes in,” Ruggiero said.

Council has been unable to fill the empty seat since Mayor Jeff Smith said a candidate could only be interviewed if three council members agreed.

City council member Sarah Compo called Spaziani “a good person,” and said she looks forward to interviewing him.

“I do know he follows city issues quite closely, and think that would be of benefit to the city council,” she said.

“I think it’s good that we’re going to interview somebody,” said council member Ryan Henry-Wilkinson. “The public wants to see us getting along and working together.”

Smith called Spaziani “a very conservative guy.”

“He’s a good guy,” the mayor said. “I’ve known him a lot of years.”

With nominating petitions for this fall’s city council race due at the end of today, Spaziani can’t be a candidate on the ballot, but told Ruggiero he may mount a write-in campaign.

Spaziani, who works security at the State Office Building, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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