Kingston's New Mayor Promises Inclusion
City Hall in Kingston was filled to capacity Friday, as well-wishers flocked to greet incoming Mayor Steve Noble, who took the oath of office on the first day of the year.
“I am not what some of you would think of when you picture what a mayor of Kingston should look like,” Noble said. “I’m young, and I don’t have a background in politics. But I believe, and it seems so do you, that it is time for a change,” he said.
“I have no intention of making empty promises, the issues we’ll be facing will not be solved overnight,” Noble told the crowd. “Like all other mayors before me, I will inherit the issues, problems, projects, that I did not previously manage,” he noted.
“It will take time, strategy, perseverance and patience to be successful,” Noble added. The new mayor promised to work in partnership with the city council to move the city forward.
“I will communicate openly, intelligently and respectfully with all residents, businesses, media and stakeholders. I will make decisions based on facts and reason, listening to all parties, and weighing all options, he said.
“This is your City Hall. This is your Common Council. I am your mayor. Our job is to work together to make Kingston a safe, stable and thriving city, so let’s get to work,” Noble said to cheers from the audience.
Among the changes for the new administration are reevaluations for important departments, starting with the office of economic development, which will be split between two managers, one for business services and the other for grants. A new confidential secretary opening for the mayor’s office will be interviewing next week.
Noble also stated he will enhance public relations, making the state of the city reports more frequent, broken down by department, and utilizing multiple forms of communication including social media and a revamped website.
Noble has a tough road ahead for 2016. The mayor’s office has been stripped bare, with all files removed except for office furniture. The new administration will be starting from scratch with no records to refer to. There was no transition between Noble’s team and outgoing mayor Shayne Gallo, who lost a bitter primary to one of his subordinates.
Roughly $500,000 must be set aside for next contract negotiations, and it’s unclear where that money will come from without raising taxes. Finally, Gallo left a ticking time bomb in the form of a lawsuit filed on his last day in office, regarding the ongoing Pike Plan scandal. The case potentially pits the new administration against some of its own strongest supporters. The Finance & Audit Committee of the Common Council has also been re-arranged. Former Chairperson Mary Ann Mills was replaced with newcomer Douglas Koop of the Second Ward, joined by Brad Will, Steven Schabot, Deborah Brown and Tony Davis. This factors into budget changes the new administration may wish to make, including restoration of Nobles former position in Parks & Recreation, which was cut by Gallo for 2016.