Councilwoman Compo Pierce will stay on Watertown City Council

Jan. 12—WATERTOWN — City Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo Pierce is staying put and will not move on to the Jefferson County Legislature as she had been contemplating in recent weeks.

Instead, the one-term councilwoman is considering a run for mayor, she said Thursday.

She'll make a decision within two weeks about running for mayor.

She said she made up her mind on Wednesday not to fill the county seat vacated by the election of County Legislator Scott A. Gray to the state assembly in November. She would have to resign from City Council in order to take the county board seat.

"When I start something, I'd like to finish it," she said. That's what I was taught."

She's up for reelection in November for her council seat.

Councilwoman Compo Pierce was all set to move on to the county about a month ago, but then started having second thoughts.

She denied that Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith, a political ally, was pressuring her to stay on council, although he made jokes about it to her, she said.

She only had one conversation with the mayor about it and that was about a month ago when it appeared she would leave City Council for the county, the councilwoman said.

She acknowledged that the controversial purchase of the Watertown Golf Club "was a factor" in her decision to finish out her council seat, adding she believes that the decision has been made to buy it and that it will proceed.

She called the deal the biggest issue since she got on council.

"A lot of people are looking for common sense, transparency and fiscal reasonability," she said, adding that supporters want a voice on council.

She said her father actually influenced her decision to remain on council, telling her she made a commitment to serve on the council and "how it would look" if she didn't fill out her term.

The councilwoman notified Jefferson County Republican Committee Chairman Donald G.M. Coon III on Wednesday night about her decision declining the county legislator position. She had been discussing it with Mr. Coon.

As for her future plans, Councilwoman Compo Pierce said she might still run for council in November, for mayor or still end up with the county position, depending on what was going on with the vacancy.

If the seat remains vacant, she could still reconsider the move, she said.

Councilwoman Compo Pierce said she doesn't know whether Mayor Smith will run for reelection and that she hasn't talked to him about his political future.

Ms. Compo Pierce was appointed to the council in January 2019 to fill the vacancy created when former Councilman Mark C. Walczyk was elected as a state assemblyman. She won election for council that November.