OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow and the Oswego Common Council welcomed several Oswego Middle School students into the administration Tuesday night.
The seven “councilors” briefly debated a faux resolution on whether to prohibit the sale of Styrofoam products within city limits.
In the end, it was unanimous – the vote was 7-0 in favor.
The city resurrected Youth Government Day in the Port City for the first time in many years.
The Oswego County Legislature holds the event annually under the auspices of Cooperative Extension. Helping facilitate Tuesday night’s event were the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and the students’ parents.
Ten students were selected from Oswego Middle School to act as city council members, city attorney, city clerk and the mayor during Tuesday’s council meeting.
The students took part in voting on official city resolutions.
Mia Fierro, an eighth grader at OMS, deftly handled the duties of the mayor for the evening. She sailed through the regular resolutions and then presented some background data to set the stage for the debate.
The president of the OMS National Junior Honor Society said she enjoyed being Oswego’s mayor for the night.
“I think the selection process was kind of random. But, I wanted to be mayor,” she acquiesced. “Mr. Barlow taught me that there are many things that happen in city government and how the city government is actually going to affect more of our daily life than what we’re paying attention to in like the national government.”
Progress takes a lot of time and work, she said.
“You can’t make things happen just like that. You have to have the meetings and plans and discussions with the council and the public,” she said.
Politics in her future?
Rosie Wallace, the student Fifth Ward Councilor agreed.
“I had a good time and I learned a lot,” she told Oswego County Today. “There’s a lot of work that goes into being a councilor. You have to be aware of a lot of issues. And work for your constituents. You have to make sure not to get nervous and state your position clearly.”
Makayla Bell, Seventh Ward Councilor, wasn’t sure how the group was selected, either.
“One day I got called down to the office and asked if I’d like to take part,” she said. “I’m not on student council. I’m in the National Junior Honor Society. I may be interested in politics, so this is a hands-on learning experience for me.”
The city used to have a Youth Government Day years ago, but somehow it fell by the wayside, Mayor Barlow said.
He proclaimed May 28, 2019, as Elks Youth Government Day in the city of Oswego.
Each student was presented with a certificate of appreciation.
Prior to the meeting, students met city government officials at the Oswego Elks Lodge for a reception.