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Changing of the Guard

Alderman Bill Carey, left, hands the placard to new Majority Leader Rennie Scott-Childress at the Jan. 9, 2018 swearing in ceremony and meeting of the Common Council.


From the Kingston Daily Freeman

KINGSTON, N.Y. >> The Common Council’s new majority leader wants city lawmakers to create their own agenda and focus more on community development that does not always have to be tied to their legislative work.

Alderman Reynolds Scott-Childress led his first Democratic caucus as majority leader Monday evening. He succeeds Alderman William Carey, D-Ward 5, who served in that role for the past two years.

Scott-Childress, D-Ward 3, was elected by his fellow Democrats during a caucus last month. He was the sole candidate for the post, he said.

Scott-Childress said after Monday’s meeting that Carey was the right leader for the past two years because the council needed to heal in a lot of ways. He said there had been a lot of cantankerousness and Carey provided a firm and consistent hand.

He said those issues included the proposal for an indoor shooting range in Midtown, which ultimately was not allowed, and a current proposal by affordable housing agency RUPCO to convert the former Alms House on Flatbush Avenue into apartments.

“So, we want to work at looking forward more than we have in the past,” Scott-Childress said.

Scott-Childress said he did not know yet know what the council’s agenda would be but that he and his fellow lawmakers would meet to talk it over and also speak with their constituents. He said a lot of the agenda probably would be in tandem with Mayor Steve Noble’s concerns but that there could be differences.

Scott-Childress said it’s crucial for council members to be more involved in community development. He said he wants them to look at how they can bring citizens together to help one another in ways that go beyond the narrow scope of what the government does.

Scott-Childress said there might be issues that come up the city cannot work on directly, “but if we, as members of the Common Council, are working at creating a better community sensibility, a greater sense of community among Kingstonians, there may be ways we can help those individuals who are going through hard times.”

Appointed to the council by Noble in April 2016, Scott-Childress won his first full two-year term in the November 2017 election. He has lived in Kingston for the past 12 years.

Also Monday, council President James Noble indicated there would be no minority leader this year He said he spoke to Alderman Patrick O’Reilly, the only non-Democrat on the council, who indicated he did not want the position.

O’Reilly is registered as a non-enrolled voter but received Democratic, Republican, Independence and Conservative party backing for November’s election. He is serving his first two-year term.