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Watertown City Council members to skip candidates forum, cite schedule conflict

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Watertown City Council candidates Jeffrey M. Smith and Teresa R. Macaluso are skipping a meet-the-candidates night Sept. 3 because it’s the same night as a council meeting.

The two incumbents have decided against attending the candidates’ night at the North Side Improvement League, 633 Mill St., citing the scheduling conflict with the City Council meeting.

Mr. Smith and Ms. Macaluso have a job to do as council members to attend the meeting, they said.

“My responsibility is with City Council, not to win an election,” Ms. Macaluso said.

The four challengers in the Sept. 10 primary have indicated they will attend. They are Jasmine W. Borreggine, Stephen A. Jennings, Cody J. Horbacz and Rodney J. LaFave.

The candidates event will begin at 6 p.m., while the council meeting will start an hour later. Organizers wanted the two incumbents to show up and introduce themselves and then leave. But they said they believe that arrangement would not be fair to them.

They said it could set them up to be criticized by one of the challengers and they would not be there to respond.

“You have to be fair to the candidates, to us and to the public,” Mr. Smith said.

They said they still hope the organizers will change the event to a different night. The organizers, Brenda and Joseph Parker, could not be reached for comment.

The forum will consist of introductory statements from the candidates, followed by questions and answers from audience members, Mr. Smith said.

On Sept. 5, the Italian-American Civic Association will host a candidates forum with the six council candidates. It will start at 7 p.m. at the club, 192 Bellew Ave. All six have said they will attend.

The top four vote-getters in the primary Sept. 10 will move on to the general election Nov. 5. Two will be elected to four-year terms.

Elected offices in the city are nonpartisan; any registered voter may participate in the primary.

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