Tebbetts renumbering, ethics ordinance shot down; longtime councilors honored

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Mayor Elaine Lauterborn presents outgoing longtime City Councilor David Walker with an inscribed clock thanks him for his service to the city during Tuesday night's City Council meeting. (City video screen capture)

ROCHESTER - The City Council's final meeting of the year on Tuesday had a little of everything: pomp, circumstance, drama and even comic relief, but the biggest relief must have been felt by Tebbetts Road homeowners, who learned that their addresses won't have to change, at least for now.

The E911 renumbering, which had been proposed earlier this year by Rochester Fire and city planners, would have forced every property on the street to be renumbered, a costly and daunting undertaking for residents, some of whom had been living on the road for decades.

Councilors voted 9-3 to reject the measure, with Laura Hainey, Don Hamann and Pete Lachapelle the only votes in favor of passage.

After Mayor Elaine Lauterborn commented that the next council seated in January would have to deal with it now, one councilor quipped "it's called a punt!" followed by Deputy Mayor David Walker saying to Mayor-elect Paul Callaghan who was seated in the audience, "Have fun with it, Paul!"

Also sent packing for the next council to take a shot at was the Ethics and Conduct Ordinance proposed last spring by outgoing councilor Jeremy Hutchinson just weeks before it was learned former city councilor Doug Lachance was being reinvestigated in a sex assault on a minor that allegedly occurred when he was mayor in the early 2000s. Months later the investigation was ended and Lachance was never charged.

Codes and Ordinances worked on preparing the ordinance for a council vote and approved its passage two months ago, but City Councilor Jim Gray said on Tuesday prior to the vote the ordinance went too far.

"This ordinance says if you notice a counselor shoveling snow on a public way, or speeding or riding a bike with loud pipes, they have to be reported and investigated," Gray said. "It goes too far. It says if you see a counselor violating the letter and spirit of the law you have a requirement to report back to the Counsel. It feels like (the novel) 1984."

Codes chair Pete Lachapelle responded that city officials should be held to a higher standard and "I'm comfortable with it."

The Ethics Ordinance failed 8-4 with only councilors Chris Rice, Laura Hainey, Lachapelle and Palana Hunt-Hawkins voting for it.

The meeting ended on a more cheerful note with the handing out of certificates thanking outgoing City Councilors for their service, including Hutchinson Tom Abbott, Hunt-Hawkins and Donna Bogan.

Walker, who has been on the council for over 20 years; and Lauterborn, who served some six months as mayor, were also honored with inscribed clocks.

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