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Albany Bids Jennings Farewell

WAMC composite image by Dave Lucas

A formal ceremony was held today in downtown Albany to bid farewell to the man who has led the capital city for two decades.

Citizens, politicians, police and public service workers gathered in and around Albany city hall to say goodbye to Jerry Jennings - the colorful, outgoing Mayor who shepherded the capital city for the past twenty years.

Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan echoed the words and feelings of most of those assembled for Jennings' walk-out ceremony.    "He's been wonderful to work with, a lot of fun. Every time you work with him you know that his heart is in the city. He's done great things for the kids of Albany, and I'm sure he'll continue to advocate for them. He's had great visions for Albany, accomplished a lot and I think he's ready for this next chapter in his life."

Former Albany Police Department spokesman Jim Miller says it's tough to see Jennings leave office.   "I worked for him for 20 years before I retired in 2012. I became good friends with him, so that makes it even more difficult in that matter. He's been the best ambassador for the city that I could ever imagine."

Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff says he appreciates Jennings' 40 years of service to the city, split between government and the public school system.

Krokoff: "He's devoted his life to public service. He has a lot to be proud of." Dave Lucas: "what are you looking forward to in 2014 with the new Mayor?" Krokoff: "It's always nice to work with new people. I'm always open to new ideas and I'm anxious to see what she has in store for the city of Albany."

Jennings spent his last twenty minutes outside City Hall in the bitter cold, hugging constituents. As his big black “official” city SUV began to pull away, Jennings rolled down the window, offering these parting words to reporters and cameramen.   "I love the media. You guys are the best. Thank You. No seriously, you've been great. I've had a great run with you! Thank-you"

The 65-year old Jennings decided earlier this year not to run for a sixth term.  In November, fellow-Democrat City Treasurer Kathy Sheehan won the race to replace him.  She will become the first female mayor in Albany's 300 year history.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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