The longest-serving mayor of the City of Schenectady is being mourned today. Frank Duci died Sunday at age 97 in Florida. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has more on how some officials are remembering the late mayor.
Frank Duci had a political career in Schenectady County for decades. Duci, a Republican, served as mayor of Schenectady from 1972 to 1983. After losing to Democrat Karen Johnson in 1983, Duci won the post back in the 90s, serving again from 1992 to 1995. He also spent seven years on the Schenectady city council and a dozen years as a Schenectady County legislator.
The Daily Gazette first reported his death Sunday.
The newspaper reported on Duci’s inauguration in January of 1972.
Duci reportedly wished “that when historians write about this stage in the development of Schenectady they will say that this administration cared about the people, and the people had confidence in it and supported it."
That’s how officials like Republican State Senator James Tedisco remembered him Monday.
Days after another community leader’s death, philanthropist Jane Golub, Tedisco spoke at a ceremony marking the construction of a new Boys and Girls Club in the city’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood.
“We lost Jane, and she was a stalwart. As you know, yesterday, we lost another stalwart. He was a dynamo. He was the longest tenured mayor in the City of Schenectady,” said Tedisco.
Senator Tedisco, also a long-serving member of the State Assembly, served alongside Duci as a city councilor.
“He was controversial, on occasion, but I don’t think I’ve met another public servant since I left that city council who really loved the community, and in this case in the City of Schenectady more than he did. So maybe we could just have a moment of silence for the loss of Mayor Frank Duci, if you could indulge me with that,” said Tedisco.
Words of kindness and sympathy came from both sides of the political aisle Monday.
Democratic Mayor Gary McCarthy spoke on behalf of the City of Schenectady.
“I want to formally extend sympathy and condolences to Frank’s family and friends. He served this city for…the longest tenured mayor. He did it with a sense of enthusiasm and commitment you rarely see with public officials,” said McCarthy.
Duci, usually seen with a cigar, served at time when Schenectady’s industrial identity was changing and local politics could be rough. He even championed the idea of legal gambling along the Mohawk years before the state paved the way for Rivers Casino.
Mayor McCarthy says he learned from Duci’s approach.
“He always paid attention to everybody so that no detail or no problem was too small. And it’s something that sometimes people forget today, whether you happen to be in government or business or other activities…Frank always made whoever he was talking to feel important, whatever project he was working on to make that look like his most important endeavor,” said McCarthy.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.