City court judge tapped

Watertown City Hall. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Just two days after the news that the position would soon be vacant, some familiar names have popped up as applicants for a City Council seat.

Former council candidates Patrick Hickey and Robert T. Schorr confirmed Wednesday they want to be considered for the seat that will be vacated by the pending resignation of Councilman Jesse C.P. Roshia.

On Monday night, Councilman Roshia notified his council colleagues that he’ll be leaving the elected position at the end of the month, citing a new job in Syracuse.

Mr. Hickey, who attends most council meetings, said he was surprised by Councilman Roshia’s announcement on Monday night. He said his longtime interest and involvement in city government should make him a strong candidate for the position.

“I already put in the paperwork,” said Mr. Hickey, who ran for council in 2019.

Mr. Schorr said he’s already being encouraged to offer his name for the position. He came in third place in the November 2019 election when Councilman Roshia and Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo won their four-year seats.

“I’d like to have more involvement in serving the city in regards to city matters,” he said.

In a Facebook post, Calvin Stanley, who had expressed interest in running in previous years, also said Wednesday that 40 community members have urged him to put his name in the ring. He plans to submit a letter and resume to the city.

Timothy Babcock, who expressed interest in filling a previous council vacancy, also has been mentioned as a possible applicant for the position. He was Councilman Roshia’s campaign manager in 2019. Mr. Babcock, a member of the city’s Planning Board for two years, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mr. Schorr, Mr. Hickey and Mr. Babcock were also among 10 people who initially expressed interest in the seat vacated by the election of Mark C. Walczyk to the state Assembly.

Mr. Hickey mentioned that he started the local Neighborhood Watch group up again, is a member of the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals and zoning rewrite committee and has been involved in the community as an emergency medical technician. Mr. Schorr said he’s a longtime volunteer firefighter and his family ran a local business.

Donnie Lee Barrigar, known for his stance as a “flat earther,” was actually the first person who announced he was interested in the seat. On Tuesday, he announced it on social media.

Mr. Barrigar, who also faces a misdemeanor charge for removing a Pride flag in front of City Hall last year, is seen as having an outside chance for the seat, since he has been highly critical of the council on LGBTQ+ issues.

On Wednesday, Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith said interested individuals are encouraged to submit a letter of interest by Jan. 31.

The successful applicant will be expected to serve until Dec. 31 of this year, the mayor said. The new council member will have to run for election in November, then fill out the remainder of Councilman Roshia’s term.

The entire council will appoint his replacement. But it’s unclear what the process will be to choose a successor.

The last time council had to fill a vacancy, council members brought in applicants for interviews before selecting Councilwoman Compo in January 2019.

Interested applicants each must send a letter and a resume to the mayor’s office or via email by Jan. 31. The address is: Jeffrey M. Smith; Mayor, City of Watertown; Suite 302, City Hall, 245 Washington St.; Watertown, NY 13601; or email jsmith@watertown-ny.gov.

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