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City Council Resets For New Year

Four Rochester City Councilmembers were sworn in during ceremonies in crowded council chambers Monday afternoon.

South District representative Adam McFadden was happy to claim being the longest-serving member on the council. "This is my fourth time doing this. I don't get a clap for that?” He did.

McFadden will continue to chair the Public Safety, Youth and Recreation Committee, and told family, friends and colleagues he will dedicate his term to helping the people of Rochester.

"I serve because I'm thinking about those folks who aren't lucky like we are, and a lot of it is luck,” said McFadden. “Some of it is bad choices, some of it is bad policies, but we're no greater than those folks who are outside these doors looking for a chance or opportunity."

McFadden also dedicated this term to his family, saying he's often let them down, but promises to serve them better, too.

After taking her oath, new councilmember Molly Clifford said her Northwest district was where her parents were welcomed to Rochester when they moved here from Syracuse 50 years ago. Clifford points to the Port of Charlotte and High Falls as assets in the district.

"But the Northwest also had an increase in blood lead levels in its children last year, the highest number of single family home foreclosures, and shared with the Northeast, the dubious distinction of the highest number of newly identified vacant houses.” Clifford vowed that “Northwest residents cannot and must not be forgotten in this community's fight to end poverty."

Michael Patterson has won his seat three years straight, but will be able to serve a full two-year term this time. Patterson admitted there are challenges in his Northeast district...and some incredible strengths, which he hopes will help build the community.

"And since I am the Northeast District City Council member, please forgive me for focusing my energy and my time there, but that is where my energy and time will be focused."

East District representative Elaine Spaull offered her wish for the next term. "We live in a magnificent city, and we must discover what is right and good, rather than focusing on what is wrong."

Spaull continued saying, "When we start with what's right we find that goodness, and then we can make small changes and little corrections and over time we have greatness."

Council Leadership

Loretta Scott was re-elected by her peers to continue as president of the council, and Dana Miller Vice President. Miller reminded the crowd that everyone in City Hall works for the Mayor, except for City Council, which does the work of the people.

"We don't work for the Mayor but we work with the Mayor. We couldn't get anything done without the Mayor and her administration, and they couldn't really get anything done without us. So, it's an important relationship, but we all have to work with you."

City Clerk

As part of its organization meeting, council voted to reappoint Hazel Washington as City Clerk.

Public Hearing Change

Councilmembers also made one change in how it does business. Council President Loretta Scott explains a move of Public Hearings.

"It allows us more time for considering any legitimate concerns that may have been raised regarding items that we have been required to conduct public hearings on."

Public hearings formerly held at full city council meetings will now be part of meetings of the committees working on that issue.

"It does give the citizens first of all, more time, in terms of being able to have their voice heard, and giving us more time in order to consider it for their benefit."

Many of the area’s public officials attended the ceremony.

Brad Smith won the Cortland County (NY) spelling bee as a seventh grader from Homer High, in a championship broadcast live on local radio. Brad’s been trying to relive the “magnificent” (winning word) moment ever since.
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