Two long-time Glens Falls Common Council regulars die
If Glens Falls Common Council meetings ran long, Rita McGavisk would miss the first part of watching the Fox television medical drama “House.”
But she and her two friends wouldn’t think of leaving meetings early.
It would be impolite to get up and leave while someone was speaking, Veronica Powers, one of her two friends, said in a 2007 Post-Star report.
McGavisk, who died Dec. 20 at age 88, and Powers, who died Dec. 11 at age 87, were two of the three Cronin High Rise apartment residents who Mayor Roy Akins designated “reserved seats” for in the front row of audience seating in the Common Council chambers.
The third woman, Bertha Brennan, died in June 2015.
Powers, best known in Glens Falls as a long-time Jackson Heights Elementary School crossing guard, became interested in local government when she attended an election forum for the spirited, five-candidate Glens Falls mayor’s race in 2005. (The candidates were Akins, Democrat; Bud Taylor, Republican; Peter McDevitt, Conservative; Esmond Lyons, Green; and William Berg, independent.)
She felt she needed to be better informed, so she started attending Common Council meetings routinely, and invited her two neighbors to come along.
Powers would pick up meeting agenda at the City Clerk’s office the morning of a meeting night, and the three women would meet during the day to become familiar with issues.
They had opinions, but did not speak during the public comment portion of meetings.
“We may think a lot, but I wouldn’t say anything,” McGavisk told The Post-Star in 2007.
“We don’t go over to speak. We go over to listen,” Powers said.
The women, instead, would share their opinions privately with 2nd Ward Councilwoman Judy Villa White when she would take the elevator with them to the third floor of City Hall, where Common Council meetings are held.
Villa White was their second favorite city official, the women said.
Long-time Councilwoman at-large Kay Saunders, of course, was their favorite.
Maury Thompson is a freelance historian of politics, labor organizing and media in New York’s North Country. He previously was City Hall reporter for The Post-Star.