Ogdensburg in ‘uncharted waters’ after council fails to fill vacancy

Ogdensburg city council fails to fill vacancy
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 5:46 AM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - After 20 votes and a candidate withdrawing his name, Ogdensburg city councillors could not reach a consensus for filling a vacant council seat.

Each of the 20 votes ended in the same 3-3 tie Monday night.

After an hour, one of the men in the running, Robert Edie, bowed out of the race.

With only one candidate remaining, Michael Tooley, a 21st vote was held, this time on a resolution to appoint Tooley to the position.

Councillors Dan Skamperle, John Rishe, and Mike Powers voted “yes,” as they had voted for Tooley on each of the preceding 20 votes.

Bill Dillabough voted “no,” while Steve Fisher and Mayor Mike Skelly abstained from voting.

A resolution needs four votes to pass.

What happens now is unclear.

The council had 30 days from Nichole Kennedy’s June 26 resignation to fill the seat. That time is up on Wednesday.

The state may need to get involved now, but interim city manager Andrea Smith said what its role would be is unknown.

She called the situation “uncharted waters.”

After the meeting we asked Councillor Dillabough why he voted “no” to appoint Tooley. He says he disagreed with Edie withdrawing his name.

“I need a little more time to think it over,” Dillabough said. “I didn’t think it was right what he did. I got my reasons for it right now, so it is all I really want to say about that.

Skelly and Fisher had no comment on why they abstained.

For some background, a vacancy committee recommended Tooley, Edie, and a third person, Michael Weaver, for the seat.

Tooley is running for mayor this fall and is unopposed on the ballot.

Both Edie and Weaver are running for open city council seats.