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Sharrow seeks city council seat

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M. Penny Sharrow has announced her independent candidacy for Ogdensburg City Council, running on the “Want To Know Party” line.

Mrs. Sharrow, of 625 Jay St., said her goals and issues “are basically all intertwined” as she launches her candidacy.

“I am concerned about the future of Ogdensburg, as are a number of people, particularly with the possible loss of jobs at the (St. Lawrence) psychiatric center,” she said. “I have had a number of conversations with fellow citizens in regards to a number of issues in the city with a broad range of concerns from debris pickup to riverfront development. I think our opinions need not only be heard but our ideas implemented if possible and reasonable.”

Mrs. Sharrow concedes that she will have a learning curve before her if she is elected.

“I want to be more familiar with the other departments,” she said Friday. “I want to learn what the City Council’s role actually is in the decision-making process of the city government and their departments. I feel there needs to be more accountability for some of the expenditures in various departments and random spending scrutinized a little closer.”

Mrs. Sharrow said that her initial job as a councilor will be to ask questions.

“I, or shall I say we, want to know the answers to a number of questions, express our concerns and offer or listen to possible solutions,” she said. “I think the citizens of the city need to be utilized more in the brainstorming procedures for the development of the riverfront by canvassing for volunteers to join committees. These committees need to be a good mix of old and young tapping on the knowledge and experience of the older residents and utilizing the youthful exuberance to come up with creative, innovative ideas. I feel the city council needs to have members on various city committees that seek funding from the city budget so we have a better idea of their utilization of funds and we could make more educated decisions on their funding.”

When initially considering running for City Council, Mrs. Sharrow said she asked for a copy of the responsibilities or a job description.

“I was told there wasn’t one,” she said. “I do believe there needs to be a definitive outline for the expectations of a city councilor’s responsibilities and duties. How do you do a job to the best of your abilities if you have no guidelines and know your limitations within city codes and regulations before you even take the step to run?”

Mrs. Sharrow has lived in Ogdensburg for 40 years. She taught and coached at Ogdensburg Free Academy for 33 years and worked for the city’s summer programs through the Parks and Recreation Department for 27 years as beach director, day camp director and pool director.

“Having worked with the Recreation Department with five different directors, I am obviously most familiar with that department and its functions,” she said. “I look forward to familiarizing myself with the other departments in the city so I have a good concept of their protocols and procedures. I also worked at the psychiatric center for two-and-a-half years after I retired from the school district. As my children were growing up and now with my grandchildren, I have also been involved in a number of youth athletic activities in the city.”

She said she doesn’t expect to work miracles if elected, but she hopes to at least provide city residents with more insight into council decisions and expenditures.

“Ideally, I would like to see Ogdensburg thrive again,” she said. “I believe teamwork and shared services would help tremendously. We don’t need to be in a survival mode, but more of a get it done right mode so we grow again and attract young people back with hopes of jobs and a future here in the north country.”

There are five candidates for three council seats up for grabs in the November election.

Incumbents running for re-election are Republican-Conservative Michael D. Morley and Democrat-Conservative Daniel E. Skamperle. Also running besides Mrs. Sharrow are Republicans Brian R. Mitchell and James R. Amo.

Republican Councilor R. Storm Cilley is not running for re-election.

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