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Odds and ends

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We had quite a few interesting headlines this week, so I figure I’ll give my 2 cents on a few:

City Firing

I shook my head when I read the court papers related to the arrest of former Ogdensburg Parks and Recreation Department employee Bryan Pribble. Mr. Pribble was fired and charged with petit larceny over the alleged theft of $1 worth of empty bottles and cans from a city dump truck. He also supposedly took some other junk that didn’t factor into his criminal charge.

His firing is headed to arbitration, which isn’t cheap. Let’s also factor in the cost of police and court time to prosecute Mr. Pribble. I don’t have exact figures for how much the mess will cost city taxpayers, but it sure adds up to a lot more than a dollar, especially if the city ends up on the losing end of arbitration and has to cough up Mr. Pribble’s back pay.

I don’t know Mr. Pribble. Maybe he had other issues with the management. But if that’s the case, surely the city could have come up with a more compelling reason for dismissing him than him taking stuff the city was going to dispose of anyway. Those cans and bottles were apparently considered precious city property.

The most ridiculous move on the city’s part was having him criminally charged so the whole mess became a matter of public record for the whole community to see. I don’t know what city officials were thinking. It makes for interesting news, but taxpayers don’t find it amusing.

Regional High School

The long-awaited study on the prospect of Heuvelton, Morristown and Hermon-DeKalb Central Schools forming a regional high school got an initial airing this week. We are still taking a look at the details, but I can’t say I’m surprised by its finding that a regional high school is the best option. Its parameters made it difficult to conclude that any option but a regional high school should be considered.

I’ll wait until I digest its findings to make a final judgment, but it’s going to have to make a pretty compelling case to convince me that mergers aren’t the way to go and that the Ogdensburg City School District shouldn’t be part of that effort. Parochial interests must take a back seat to opportunities for children and relief for taxpayers.

Postcard Campaign

The task force working to get the state to make the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center a regional center of excellence has undertaken a postcard mailing campaign to keep their view fresh in the minds of state officials.

It’s great to see that nobody involved in the effort is sitting on their hands while waiting for news from Albany. Anyone who cares about the psychiatric center’s future should fill out a postcard, affix postage and mail it. We have them available in our office in Ogdensburg, and there are also a bunch at City Hall. Stop in and pick some up.

OBPA, City Make Friends

It’s high time that the city and the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority developed a cooperative relationship. The two entities’ economic development interests are the same, yet for years they found themselves competing against each other for prospects. It’s wonderful to hear that ridiculous situation has ended, and the two are meeting regularly to talk about how they can help each other.

If we’re going to dig ourselves out of the economic pit of despair, we have to work together. I hope other economic development agencies follow suit in joining forces for a common good.

time is running out

You would never know that District Attorney Nicole Duvé was up for election this year. Her office can’t help but shoot itself in the foot.

In two separate cases this week, the DA’s office failed to bring indictments against two people within the statutory 45-day time frame. One of them had been charged with stabbing and robbing an Ogdensburg resident.

It’s pretty sad that this isn’t the first time we’ve reported on the office dropping the ball. Common reports have been that paperwork gets lost, deadlines get missed, and attorneys don’t show up to court.

I don’t want to make it sound like the office doesn’t do good work. There are plenty of cases where people committing serious crimes get convicted, but they are unfortunately overshadowed by all the bungling. It’s hard to ignore.

It’s unclear whether we can chalk it up to inexperienced attorneys, the need to travel to scores of municipal courts, or massive case loads the office is too under-staffed to handle. But something is clearly wrong, and has been wrong for a long time. Ms. Duvé needs to get her house in order before another person accused of a violent crime gets set free on a technicality. If there is something county administration or the Legislature can do to help her, they should do it fast.

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