WATERTOWN — Former Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr.’s longtime public service with the city will now turn to Fort Drum and the U.S. Army.
The former Watertown mayor is traveling to the nation’s capital on Tuesday to be sworn in as the new Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for New York.
“It’s awesome,” he said.
The swearing-in ceremony will be held at the Pentagon, with Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy attending.
The former mayor succeeds F. Anthony Keating, who has held the position for more than 20 years. In November, Mr. Butler was notified that he was appointed to the position.
As the civilian aide, Mr. Butler will serve in the volunteer position as a special government employee and will not be paid.
In his four years as mayor, he worked hard to forge connections and relationships at Fort Drum with the city. He’ll learn more about his responsibilities during a day-long orientation at the Pentagon.
He’s expected to work on recruitment, helping soldiers transition from Fort Drum to civilian life and what can be done to help if they want to stay in the area after they leave the Army.
Mr. Butler’s successor, Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith, thanked Mr. Keating for his efforts all of those years, adding that he laid the foundation for the city’s relationship with Fort Drum.
The former mayor can build on that relationship, he said.
“He knows the inside of City Hall and has worked closely with Fort Drum,” Mayor Smith said.
During his Washington, D.C. visit, Mr. Butler hopes for a reunion with Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, former commander of Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division, who’s now serving as the Director of Army Staff in Washington after leaving Fort Drum in May.
Mr. Butler and Lt. Gen. Piatt became friends during the former mayor’s tenure at City Hall.
“I’m hoping we can get together,” Mr. Butler said.
Mr. Butler’s best friend and advisor, Jeffrey Fallon, and a representative from Fort Drum will be joining him on the trip.
Mayor Butler, a lifelong resident of Watertown, previously served on City Council for eight years before being elected mayor four years ago. He decided not to seek a second term and left office Jan. 1, replaced by Jeffrey Smith.
Mayor Butler, who’s been active in the community while serving with several local organizations, has a 22-year career as a financial consultant at Community Investment Services.
He joins other civilian aides in New York, Steve Castleton and Dr. Pamela Newman, both of the southern region.