New Year, New Political Terms Begin As Leaders Are Sworn-In
A new year brings new leadership in many area communities. Here's a roundup of the swearing-ins in the Capital Region and beyond...
"I hope you will join me, as we continue to do great things for our community, as we continue to deliver on a vision of equity, of creating an Albany that truly is a city for everyone," said Democratic Mayor Kathy Sheehan took her oath of office for a second term Monday at City Hall along with new Albany Common Council President Corey Ellis, who noted "We have some challenges facing us, yes we do. But those challenges are opportunities. An opportunity to move the city forward and grow the city in the image we want it to be."
Ellis succeeds Carolyn McLaughlin, a fellow-Democrat who had served on the council since 1997. Fifteen Albany Common Councilors were also sworn in along with Chief City Auditor Susan Rizzo and City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar. "The lesson I think I've taken from the last four years is that there's no limit to what we can accomplish if we choose to work together, even when we disagree," said Shahinfar.
Mayor Sheehan told the gathering the city's future is promising. "I hope you will join me as we continue to do great things for our community. As we continue to deliver on a vision of equity, of creating an Albany that truly is a city for everyone. A city of neighborhoods where we are all proud, a city that is just and a city where everyone has the opportunity to achieve and fulfill their hopes and dreams."
About 35 miles north, Meg Kelly was sworn in as the new mayor of Saratoga Springs Monday. "We're gonna be looking at parking. A comprehensive plan for parking. We'll probably put an RFP out for a company to look at our parking throughout the city. We'll bring back the parking garage conversation, we'll continue that. We are gonna be working on the Green Belt Trail, bringing that to light and starting that. We'll be working on a lot of grants, getting some grant money to continue the projects. Affordable housing is moving forward as we speak so you'll see it coming up on South Broadway and on West Avenue. Those are big projects that will really help the city and make it more inclusive for everybody."
In Troy, Republican Carmella Mantello was sworn in for another term as Council President along with two Republican and four new Democratic city councilors.
In Niskayuna, Republican political newcomer Yasmine Syed was sworn in as Town Supervisor. "I'm an open, transparent, friendly person. I like working together with everyone." Syed will work with an all-Democratic town board. She has vowed to lead the town in bipartisan fashion.
Steve McLaughlin was sworn in as the new Rensselaer County Executive. McLaughlin, who leaves the New York State Assembly, tells WNYT he feels uniquely qualified for his new role, saying he understands how things operate at the state Capitol. "I know how things operate. Seven years down there. I know who to talk to, who's really running the show as far as committees go."
George Latimer was sworn as Westchester County Executive at his White Plains office Monday, ending Republican Rob Astorino’s eight year run. After taking the oath of office, the Rye Democrat signed three executive orders, one removing county executives' names from signage for county parks and highways, explaining "These facilities are owned by the people of Westchester County." "Their effort, their tax dollars, their faith have put these things into place. It is not the possession of any one county executive or any period of time, and as surely as I have taken on this position, the day will come where I will turn this position over to someone else."
Several signs have already been altered. Latimer, who leaves the New York state Senate, is expected to make additional policy announcements over the next two weeks.
Embattled Gloversville Mayor Dayton King was also sworn in Monday after surviving a primary and a hotly contested general election. The Republican was arrested in December, accused of using his position as mayor to access and review personal information on his opponent in the mayoral race in the Fulton County city. " I recognize that as the mayo, the buck stops with me. Everything that goes wrong in our city is my fault. I take responsibility. I will be the mayor of our city for the next four years. And at the end of my term, I will have no regrets. i will continue to push on doors to lead to less government, resulting in lower taxes and more private sector jobs.
King added he plans to spend "a lot more time" in Albany meeting with state legislators and "the folks in the governor's office."