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Mayor vetoes resolution charging SUNY Oswego for Bridge Street Run overtime

Cassandra Genua
Hundreds of people attend Oswego's Bridge Street Run every year. (file photo)

Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen has vetoed one of the two resolutions passed just days after this year's controversial Bridge Street Run. The Oswego Common Council unanimously passed a measure to bill SUNY Oswego for overtime costs accrued by police, fire and public works department associated with the unsanctioned annual pub crawl.

Nearly 30 people were arrested and two were injured during this year's event. Three students also overdosed on heroin during Bridge Street Run, but police say the event is not to blame.

This is the first time Gillen has vetoed a resolution since taking office two-and-a-half years ago. He says he did it because it was not fully discussed and was an emotional reaction to this year's event.

"The veto was not to say I disapprove of what we did," Gillen said. "The veto, it was basically to say, I think we need to change direction. I think that we are running forward in the dark, and I think that's not the right way to be. I think that what we need to do is sit down with the campus, and sit down with the county legislators and city legislators and figure out how do we address these issues intelligently and professionally."

Gillen says he wants to gather everyone together to come up with a plan to deal with the Bridge Street Run that works for everyone.

"You can't fix something until you understand what the problem is," Gillen explained. "And I think that's what I wanted to establish. What is the disconnect and how can we collectively come up with working solutions that will support our college, support our city and our residents, and grow the neighborhoods and grow the whole atmosphere of downtown."

Councilman Michael Todd said during the Tuesday night meeting that he was shocked by the veto, saying that a disservice has been done to the city's residents, whose quality of life is impacted by the hundreds of people who participate in BSR.

A second resolution passed by the council to ban the BSR entirely is still on the books, though Gillen admitted that it will be difficult to enforce.