October 25, 2021

Cortland mayor won’t seek sixth term

Brian Tobin, the longest serving mayor of Cortland, announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to a sixth term.

Tobin, who has been mayor since 2011, said in a statement that he would instead focus on his family.

“In order for me to continue to maintain my priorities, I need to juggle less in my professional life,” said Tobin, 49. “Now is the right time to announce that I will not seek re-election. It gives potential candidates enough time to evaluate their options, and take steps to be on the ballot this fall. I look forward to a smooth transition to someone who cares about all the residents of Cortland as deeply as I do.”

Tobin did not list a potential successor.

Connie White, the chairwoman of the Cortland County Republican Committee, said she was surprised Tobin didn’t announce anyone as a potential successor. White declined to name any potential Republican candidates.

Tim Perfetti, the chairman of the Cortland County Democratic Committee, said Democratic candidates are interested in running, but he would not specify whom.

“I was pretty surprised he would give it up this year,” said Alderman Tom Michales (R-8th Ward). He thought that Tobin would continue to serve throughout the pandemic.

Michales appreciated Tobin’s goals to improve the city with programs like the improve the city with programs like the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative to help with infrastructure and utilities around Main Street.

Michales also said that Tobin will continue to work on projects around the city, including work on Clinton Avenue infrastructure and making use of Brownfields — vacant or un-used lots — throughout the city.

“I think it was a very successful 10 years and the city is better for it,” said Alderman John Bennett (D-4th Ward).

Bennett, too, cited the DRI as a great project during Tobin’s tenure and appreciated other projects, including the city’s rental program that prohibited more than three, non-familial members to live in an apartment together, ending issues of overcrowding in apartments.

Tobin, first elected in 2011, defeated incumbent Mayor Susan Feiszli in a primary before defeating Republican Erich DeMunn.

His campaign focused on concerns about student housing, but also the need for long-term planning for the city.

Before Tobin, the longest-tenured Cortland mayors were Morris A. Noss, who served four terms between 1966 and 1973, and Ronald T. Walsh Jr., who served from 1992 to 1999.