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      Conflict of interest? Oswego mayor joins strikers at nuke plant

      Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman / photo: Andy Wolf

      Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman has written to executives at Constellation Energy Group demanding assurances the Nine Mile Point nuclear plants are safe as a strike nears the end of its second week.

      Mayor Bateman is also a former worker at the power plants. He filed his retirement papers in March after 30 years on the job. Bateman still shows up at the picket lines offering his support.

      In his letter, the mayor wrote, "we are concerned about your plan for an emergency situation that may arrise during the current labor dispute." Bateman also would like the see the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conduct a surprise emergency drill to test the readiness of the plant's current operators. "The proof is in the pudding" he said.

      Click here to download a read a copy of Bateman's letter to Constellation.

      Constellation spokesperson Jill Lyon tells CNY Central's Jim Kenyon "We provided the Mayor with a response. We're confident we have adequate plans in place."

      Lyon points out that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewed the site emergency plan and "did not have to change" anything because of the strike. Lyon added that the plants are "fully staffed by qualified personnel."

      Some may now question whether Bateman has a conflict of interest by pressuring Constellation about safety issued during the strike. While he is now a former employee, and still walks the picket lines in support of the union, Bateman says, "It's not a conflict of interest." He points out that he is retired and explains, "As Mayor of the community it is my responsibility to make sure there's a safety margin there that we can be comfortable with."

      IBEW Local 97 president Ted Skerpon also does not see a conflict of interest... "he (Bateman) knows when he is the Mayor and he knows when he is a worker at the plant."

      The union went on strike July 9 after rejecting a contract offer from Constellation. The union says it is concerned with pension reductions.

      Do you think Mayor Bateman has a conflict of interest in this case, because he is both an elected official and a former employee at the plant? Or is he just doing his job and representing his constituents? Leave a comment below and gve us your opinion.