Ogdensburg lawmakers appear no closer to filling empty council seat

Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 3:44 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - A vacant Ogdensburg City Council seat, expected to be filled July 24, remains empty. Two weeks later, council members don’t seem any closer to figuring it out.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s dead and we’ll go with six councillors to the end of the year,” said Councillor Bill Dillabough.

The seat is open after former councillor Nichole Kennedy resigned. A vacancy committee narrowed it down to 3 candidates. Then council got it to 2 - Michael Tooley and Robert Edie.

On July 24, 20 consecutive votes ended with council split 3 for Tooley and 3 for Edie. So Edie dropped out, thinking it would help. It didn’t. Mayor Mike Skelly and councillors Steven Fisher and Dillabough kept Tooley from taking the seat officially.

Councillor Michael Powers calls it ridiculous.

“For some unknown reason, whether it’s spite or disdain towards an individual, they are circumventing open government and more importantly, they are hurting our community by not filling in that seat. As far as I’m concerned, Mike Tooley is that seventh councilman right now,” said Powers.

With city council split down the middle on who should fill in the vacant seat, interim City Manager Andrea Smith says the indecisiveness could cause some problems during the fall.

“I’m concerned that if we end up with a three-three vote on various aspects of the budget process that it may jeopardize the whole process and that we don’t get the feedback from council or the public that we really need to get through the budgetary process,” she said.

Ultimately the seat gets filled on January 1 after this fall’s election.