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Ogdensburg council names Pinkerton as preferred city manager candidate

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Ogdensburg City Council members confirmed that John M. Pinkerton was their preferred candidate for city manager, but said reports that he had been offered the job were premature.

Mr. Pinkerton’s name was leaked anonymously to the media last week, but Mayor William D. Nelson said a final selection has not yet been made.

“Obviously, until we have a contract negotiated and signed with the prime candidate, and then until the council votes on the hiring of that candidate, nothing is final,” Mr. Nelson said. “Things could change. We’re not ready to announce anything yet.”

Councilor Wayne L. Ashley said the announcement was supposed to be made by the council as a whole at a public meeting.

“As you know, the candidate is pretty well chosen. We’re going to work out a feasible contract with him,” Mr. Ashley said. “I think the whole council should have made that announcement.”

Deputy Mayor Michael D. Morley was unsure who leaked Mr. Pinkerton’s name, but said Mr. Nelson was supposed to be the council’s spokesman on the hiring process.

“If it didn’t come from him, I have no idea where it came from,” he said. “We are in negotiations right now, and I would hope we would announce the name at the next City Council meeting.”

At its Sept. 10 meeting, the council will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to the city charter. Those changes would allow the council to dictate the term of city managers. If accepted, they would become the basis for contract negotiations with Mr. Pinkerton, said Councilor Jennifer Stevenson.

“Nothing can be done officially until we have those charter changes,” she said. “We know there were some shortfalls previously in regards to the charter and the city manager’s contract.”

Currently, Ogdensburg’s city manager serves an indefinite term per section C-18 of the charter, a stipulation reflected in the contract of former City Manager Arthur J. Sciorra. Council members complained that an unlimited term made it difficult for them to part ways with poorly performing city managers.

Ms. Stevenson was upset that Mr. Pinkerton’s name was released.

“I’m not very happy that the information is being leaked because it is not professional,” she said. “It is not fair to the candidates. If something happens, how do they go back to their current employers?”

In August, the City Council interviewed five candidates for the position, but a majority supported Mr. Pinkerton, whose business experience and local roots fit the requirements of most members.

Mr. Pinkerton, an Ogdensburg native, has more than 31 years of experience in private enterprise. He works as a business adviser at CITEC, a business-development company based at Clarkson University, Potsdam. He also is co-owner of Adirondack Professional Cleaners and has worked as a consultant and manager for Newell-Rubbermaid.

Mr. Pinkerton was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

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