Oswego Mayor Announces He Won’t Seek Re-election

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman this afternoon (Jan. 6) announced he won’t be seeking re-election to the post he’s held since 2006.

Bateman, a Democrat, served as a county legislator from 1992-95 and Fourth Ward city alderman from 1998 to 2006. In 2006, he was alderman, council president and the acting mayor. He has been mayor from 2006 to the present.

“It is an honor and privilege to have been given the opportunity to serve my community for a combined total of 18 years,” he said.

Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman announces his intention to not seek another term.
Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman announces his intention to not seek another term.

After weighing many factors including family responsibilities and time commitment, “I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the fall election for mayor of the city of Oswego,” Bateman told the large crowd in the Council Chambers.

At one point, he became overcome with the emotion of the moment and had to pause before continuing.

“Of course, I will finish out my term, which expires on Dec. 31, 2011,” he said.

He decided to make the announcement now so that anyone interested in pursuing the office of mayor will have ample time to prepare, he explained.

First Ward Councilor Connie Cosemento said Bateman’s announcement left her “speechless.”

The mayor has done a good job for the city and its residents and deserves to take some time now for himself and his family, she added.

“I’m sad. I think Randy’s been a very good mayor; he has been a very good mentor to me,” Third Ward Councilor Cathy Santos said.

“I’d love to see him continue on, but I thoroughly understand the reasoning behind his decision,” added County Legislator Mike Kunzwiler of Oswego. “Randy’s the type of person that puts 110 percent into everything he does and that takes a toll on a person. He’s done a fantastic job; no one can take that away from him. People really don’t understand the financial situation he was handed (when he took over as mayor). He has brought the city back into a good position and that says a lot for him.”

Joking with the media, Bateman said, “All I ask is that you don’t call me ‘lame duck’ until November or December.”

Mayor Bateman’s Announcement

I have called this press conference to make an announcement to the citizens of the city of Oswego.

Our city has accomplished a great deal in the last five years. We collaborated with the State Department of Transportation during the rehabilitation of the Bridge Street and Utica Street bridges, we managed the city during the worst snowstorm in recent memory in early 2007, we extended the West Linear Park Walkway to the west of Breitbeck Park, we have leased and may ultimately purchase the International Marina which will give us control over the entire area to better coordinate activities.

We were also able to endure an economic recession, which ahs not ended. I am proud to say that we managed city finances prudently and proposed realistic budgets. The most recent budget was approved by the Common Council without a single amendment.

Despite these tough times, our budgets have not included massive layoffs.

These are only a few of our accomplishments.

One of my first actions when I took over the mayor’s office was to change our ticket and tow policy during our winter parking bans. Prior to this change, whenever a vehicle was ticketed for illegal parking it was also towed away.

Under the current policy that I implemented, a vehicle will still receive a ticket for illegal parking but will not be towed unless the vehicle is a detriment to the snow removal process.

All these accomplishments were made possible by working with out talented department heads and our excellent city workforce.

Despite doing more with less, our workforce has been able to maintain vital services for our residents.

Our city residents can be proud of our workforce.

That’s not to imply that everyone is perfect. We have had a few employee issues, as all employers do, and we dealt with them. But, on the whole, we have a very dedicated workforce that comes to work every day and does a great job.

Over the course of the last five years, I have restored integrity to the mayor’s office as well as instituting some new workforce policies that provide clear guidance for actions by our city employees.

The city of Oswego is again back on track.

We have also faced some challenges and had to make some tough decisions. Our biggest challenge was the Consent Order from the EPA and DEC which requires the city to upgrade our sewer infrastructure and to make the sewer portion of our budget self-sufficient by 2012.

This Consent Order resulted in a huge increase in sewer fees. The choices we had were to claim that the city did not have these problems, amass a huge legal debt, go to court and lose, or to negotiate with the EPA and DEC to get the best possible agreement for our residents. The only logical choice was the latter.

The only fair way to pay for the increase was through the sewer user fees that everyone pays. If the increase was placed on the property tax bills, the folks that pay little or no property taxes such as churches, schools and government buildings would not pay their fair share.

Remember that our city did not have a sewer fee until 2005.

Until that time, the major revenue to operate the sewer fund was taken out of the general fund.

On a personal note, I have been privileged to have served this city as Sixth Ward County Legislator from 1992 to 1995, as Fourth Ward Alderman from 1998 to 2006 and as mayor from 2006 to 2011.

During 2006, I actually held three positions – Fourth Ward Alderman, Council President and Acting Mayor.

It has been an honor and a privilege to have been given the opportunity to serve my community for a combined total of 18 years.

As any intelligent person knows, being the mayor and chief executive of a city is very demanding. It requires many hours in the office and many more hours at home answering phone calls and emails and attending various events to represent the city.

As I have experienced, any time away from the city for even a short period requires plenty of catching up when you return. All in all, it is a very time consuming responsibility.

However, my years of experience have taught me what the demands of the office are and how to best deal with them.

I am also eligible to retire from my full-time job this year. If I elect to retire, it will allow me to travel more to visit my children who live out of state and to spend more time with my wife, Jo-Anne.

After weighing many factors including family responsibilities and time commitment, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate in the fall elections for mayor of the city of Oswego.

Of course, I will finish out my term, which expires on Dec. 31, 2011.

I am by no means ruling out a future run for some office.

I have chosen to make this announcement at this time so that anyone interested in pursuing this office will have ample time to prepare.

All told, the journey through public service has been extremely rewarding and enjoyable. It’s a journey that I have been humbled and honored to have made.

Randolph F. Bateman

1 Comment

  1. Randy, you were a fabulous Alderman to those of us in the Fourth Ward, and several of the issues I had on East Utica Street were resolved through your efforts (thank you!). They remain resolved, too. So that is a major bonus!

    I believe that the job of mayor must be more than anyone NOT mayor can even imagine. I can say, personally, even when I didn’t like an action (the sewer fee is a killer to small businesses like mine who sadly lost almost every cent of increased profit we made each time the fees were raised), I respect that you and the Council tried to find the most equitable solution to that problem . Now if some of the State taxes for small business would go down, the sewer fee might not be so grim to our profit margin…we almost literally work for government fees the last couple of years. So, I fear the next mayor may not try quite as hard to solve some of these issues for tax payers as you have (of course, the Council will still be there to work with the new mayor, so it might be alright!).

    You will be missed. Your face is always a friendly one to the citizens of our small city (more of a big town, really), but we hope you can enjoy your family and friends during your retirement.

    And, when you get bored with all that free time (you probably don’t know where to find free time right now), you will be welcome back into whatever community service position you ‘might’ seek in the future. As a young man with a lot of energy, I can’t personally picture you without one of these jobs, but hey, you might find retirement right up your alley, too, travelling to exotic parts, and living the life of the average citizen.

    God bless you both, Randy and Joanne (because where would Randy be without the spousal support of a politician’s wife), and Happy and Healthy 2012, when you finally leave this service. I know my family has appreciated what you have done for Oswego in your 18 years.

    Debbie Engelke
    Time & Again Books & Tea

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