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September 23, 2018

Council President: Talk To Us, Not Social Media, To Solve Problems


OSWEGO, NY – Members of the Common Council have taken exception to comments made on social media regarding requests for certain special events.

Council President Eric VanBuren spoke briefly prior to the start of Monday’s committee meetings regarding issues some people have with the council’s special events policy.

Posts, that are inflammatory, have been made on social media in an attempt to get the council to react, he said.

“You can take whatever stance you like on social media,” he said, adding that if you have a problem with the council – come to the council and discuss things.

The request to hold the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade was withdrawn by the event’s organizer at the last council meeting. Issues with the council, and one councilor in particular, as well “additional fees” were cited.

The organizer then shared their complaints on Facebook.

In part, they posted: “After a year now with fighting with our current common council regarding fees and application processes we just realized that it wasn’t worth continuing the fight.”

They were presented with several options regarding what they could do to resolve the problem, VanBuren said.

“In the end, they chose to take their stance and withdraw the request. The council articulately described what the issues were during the meeting that the event was pulled,” he said. “After that, it is out of the council’s hands.”

The council has no ability to put it back on if someone wants it pulled, he explained.

He believes the council would like to have the organizers re-submit the request.

He has submitted a request to the city’s Ethics Committee to review the entire situation.

“Hopefully, that will set a precedent for the future,” he said.

Oswego County Today has reached out to the organizer for a comment but was unable to connect late Monday night.

Council Fine Tunes Special Events Policy

Councilors continued discussion Monday night regarding the special events policy and hope to have it ready for a vote at the next council meeting.

Discussion on the strategy began several months ago, Councilor Nate Emmons pointed out. Talks have included department heads like the chief of police, fire chief and others, he said.

The plan is to streamline the process in a fair and equitable way for everyone.

The policy deals with deadlines to submit an application for a special event, insurance needs, fees (including for things like fire, police and DPW assistance), and more.

The council will need to determine whether to charge regular time or overtime rates for events.

It is a grey area, Justin Rudgick, community development director, agreed.

The council has to take into account things like DPW cleaning up after an event, road closures, and pavilion rentals for a full day or just a part of the day, he said.

The policy will head to the council floor for a final vote.

4 Responses “Council President: Talk To Us, Not Social Media, To Solve Problems”

  1. Rick
    March 7, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Unfortunately, this elected council has made so many unnecessary changes to policy it’s pathetic. Ward councilmen themselves have taken to social media to get feedback from their constituents and when they vote on issues they take a childish “Whatever Billy wants, we will say yes to” attitude despite an overwhelming opposition to a subject by their constituents. Oh there’s discussion, but in the end whatever Billy wants, Billy gets. PATHETIC.

  2. Joe
    March 7, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Actually what I think is pathetic is that these organizations expect the taxpayers to foot the bill for the own interests. Some of these organizations are money making businesses and not nonprofits. I think the council is doing a fine job treating everyone the same with the new events board. It’s about time. I just hope they don’t start waving it’s fees for some and not others. Be fair. I see them waving fees for Harborfest and they shouldn’t as I feel Harborfest should have been a stand alone entity for a long time with paid part time employees to do the work instead of the DPW doing it. So get over it and thanks again for standing up for the majority of taxpayers that don’t have the time to go to council meetings or to post on social media. Thanks council again.

  3. Hmmmm
    March 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    To the lay person, the photograph of the Mayor heading last years St Patrick’s Day parade, might come to the conclusion, that the city put this event on. This article states, that costs include rental of pavilion? Why, is someone renting it for a winter barbecue? Street closures cost nothing, other than the fact the DPW has to put blockades up. And, as well, they would have to have a couple of employees in each side of the street for the clean up. As well, why would the council have to consider regular time or overtime? Don’t they have shifts now? I was told many enjoyed the parade. And, it appeared as if it was city run with the mayor out in front. Why should any organization put the city in front of an event, to make it appear their tax dollar is at work, when in fact it isn’t, if an organization is paying for it? A lot more people showed for the parade, than the ice rink “follie.”who made money on that, Barlow’s Concessions??? The council and the organizations should work together for all, not just the ones who will make money!

  4. Steve Yablonski
    March 7, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    The special events policy will cover all sorts of events, all year round

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