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Mayor won't seek reelection in Saratoga Springs

By Lombardo David
Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson will not seek a fourth-term in office.

"It has been an honor and privilege to serve our City as your Mayor”, stated Johnson in a news release. “I’m proud that we were able to restore integrity and professionalism to the Office of the Mayor, coupled with common sense principles that remain tried and true.

It's not yet clear who the Republican nominee for mayor will be. The city's Republican Committee met during the week, but they have no publicly backed a candidate.

Johnson said in a phone interview that he is not endorsing anyone at this point. "It would be premature without knowing who is running," he said in an interview on Saturday.

It is expected that the Democratic nominee will be city Supervisor Joanne Yepsen, who has publicly said she is considering a run

Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee Chairman Charlie Brown confirmed that Yepsen has an "exploratory committee" helping her decide whether to run for mayor or her supervisor job. He wouldn't comment on who is in her inner-circle.

He swept into office by defeating incumbent Mayor Valerie Keehn in 2007, which was also the year that long-time Public Works Commissioner Thomas McTygue was booted out of office.

Johnson battled Democrat Ron Kim in 2009 and won a second term. In that race, Johnson came under attack for his support of a new recreation center on the city’s southside and the formation of a new police station was a major issue.

The mayor’s most recent victory was two years ago, when he defeated Democrat Brent Wilkes in a tight election.

"Despite a national recession of historic measure, we were still able to move the City forward in a fiscally responsible manner to attain many goals long ago established but never accomplished," Johnson said. "For example, we now have the long awaited Recreation Center, a new downtown parking garage, more cost effective union contracts, cost savings through consolidation of City healthcare, construction of Spring Run Trail, enactment of more environmental protections and initiatives, the most defined and substantiated 6 year capital program to date, and the most comprehensive zoning ordinance revision in over two decades, to name some of our accomplishments."

"Simply stated, we were able to do the job that elected officials are supposed to do, namely, move forward without divisive politics. I have much appreciation and a large debt of gratitude to my staff and all Saratogians who have contributed to our success," he said.

Last year the mayor came under fire for his connection with the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority. Because the mayor is largely responsible for appointing commissioners to the authority, Johnson was criticized when a bedbug infestation was slowly by the staff servicing the low-income housing sites. There was some criticism that the mayor was too hesitant to act.

The 2012 election cycle sent the city into a contentious battle over charter change. Johnson was mostly mute on the topic until right before Election Day, when he announced plans to form a commission to review the charter.

Before leaving office, Johnson said he would like his charter commission to deliver a report.

Johnson said he will continue to live in the city and remain active with public service. “[My wife and I] are simply taking a different direction”, he said in a statement. “This is not the end of a career, it’s just another chapter. We again thank the many supporters that have shared this experience with us and, in the process, have become new or better friends”.

Follow @poozer87 on Twitter.

 
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