Outgoing Watertown Council members reflect on their terms

Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 4:32 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Councilman Ryan Henry-Wilkinson was elected to Watertown City Council in 2017 and after serving one full term, he decided to not seek re-election.

“Not that I don’t care about the work, or care about the people that I represent. I like them very much, and I like the work very much, but it can be very exhausting and just taxing,” said Hery-Wilkinson.

Henry-Wilkinson says in his 4 years on council, he is proud of the things he has been a part of, like helping to adopt a comprehensive plan for the city, shaping the vision of the future for Thompson Park, as well as updating the city’s zoning laws.

But Henry-Wilkinson says the pandemic also brought on new challenges that council had to face head on.

“I think probably the hardest thing I had to do was when they pulled us into that meeting and told us we need to layoff staff. But we were able to hire those people back or offer them jobs if they wanted to come back,” said Henry-Wilkinson.

For Councilman Leonard Spaziani, his tenure was unique.

He was appointed to the position in April, filing the seat left vacant by Jesse Roshia, who resigned earlier this year.

“You kind of have that idea but you’re not sure, but it was a learning experience, I loved it and I got to be honest with you, am I going to miss it? Yes,” said Spaziani.

In his short time on council, Spaziani feels he did make good strides for the city, helping the fire department get a new ladder truck and voting to help restore the Alteri Pool.

But he says most importantly, he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.

“To say ‘well, they’re doing it so why don’t we? I don’t believe in that, I’m not a follower and I’m not really a leader. I just believe that we should co-mingle and go on the best path that we can find,” said Spaziani.

Spaziani did run a write-in campaign for his current seat, but was unsuccessful.

His successor, Patrick Hickey, will serve the final two years of Roshia’s term while incumbent Lisa Ruggerio and newly-elected council member Cliff Olney will begin serving 4 year terms in the new year. All three will be sworn in at Flower Memorial Library on Saturday afternoon.

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