City Hall begins major transition
Watertown's City Hall is going through a major transition phase. City Manager Mary Corriveau will step down Tuesday and a new face will take over temporarily. Our Amanda Kelley takes a look at this changeover and how the city will operate until a permanent replacement is found.
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- For nearly 27 years, Mary Corriveau has worked for the city of Watertown, beginning in the Comptroller's Office and working her way up to City Hall's top position. But after presenting Monday night's budget to council members, her service to the city is all but done. It's something many residents are upset about.
Watertown resident Nic Darling said, "The city of Watertown is a better place because of Mary Corriveau as our City Manager and I feel that the decision that was made by the city council was an illogical decision."
In January, council members decided not to renew Corriveau's contract as City Manager.
Since then, she has quietly worked to tie up loose ends, hiring a new Parks and Recreation Superintendent, formulating a new policy for the sale of alcohol on city property, and handling labor negotiations with the police department. Many said her work ethic isn't the reason she'll be leaving City Hall.
Darling said, "I think there's a lot of internal politics. Obviously with the strife that's going on there's some things going on. Mary is not a back room politician type of player. I think there's a lot of back door politics involved."
In 2010, there were clear issues between Corriveau and some council members, and more communication was asked for during her performance review.
Now as the search continues to replace Corriveau, council has appointed a familiar face to fill the City Manager's position temporarily.
Former Ogdensburg City Manager John Krol will fill the position until a permanent replacement is found. Krol is also helping to lead the search for Watertown's next City Manger.
Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham said, "You have to do what you have to do, you've got an obligation, you took an oath to keep things going and whatever the circumstances are along the way. That's been my goal, throughout this."
But some community members see the appointment as a conflict of interest.
Watertown resident Danny Francis said, "He's going to be picking someone to take his own position. Mr. Krol is being paid $10,000 to head up the search committee, and now he's going to step in and be the interim city manager."
Krol will begin work Wednesday, but the impact Corriveau has left on City Hall was clear as residents and staff gave her a standing ovation as the meeting adjourned.