It has been a history making week in Onondaga County. County Executive Joanie Mahoney officially tendered her resignation Tuesday, in order to take a job as CEO of SUNY ESF, as well as an advisory role with Upstate Medical University. It was then up to the county legislature to appoint her replacement.
Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon had his votes in a row just hours after Mahoney unexpectedly announced that she was resigning last week. On Tuesday, lawmakers followed through by appointing him Onondaga County’s fourth county executive.
McMahon is a rare Republican who’s represented the overwhelmingly Democratic city of Syracuse. And it can be a challenge to corral the interests of a struggling city, sprawling suburbs and rural farmland. But he said collaboration is how he wants county government defined in the next 12 months.
"All of our interests are aligned, and once we realize that and bring all of our diversity to the table, I believe our potential is great,” McMahon said.
McMahon specifically thanked three of the five democrats who voted for him, including minority floor leader Linda Ervin, who said she’s worked well with McMahon.
"I could have voted no as a good Democrat," Ervin said. "But I’ve appreciated what he’s done with us, and I look forward to that going forward.”
There are some contentious issues coming up; including an extension of a sales tax agreement with the city of Syracuse, and revamping of the funding model for the region’s sewer system, both of which McMahon said are issues he’ll start working on immediately.
"We’re not coming into this year to make a firestorm with any real disruption," McMahon said. "We’re looking to hit the ground running, and put our stamp on things and have a real productive 12-month run here.”
He will take the reigns of the executive branch of government on an interim basis, until voters get a say when the seat comes up for a vote in November of 2019. He said he won’t be a placeholder.
"We’re going to drive an aggressive community discussion on infrastructure," McMahon said. "We’re going to get a sales tax deal done, an extension of that. We’re going to look at economic development and the best model that looks for us as a county and a region. And I think you are going to see unprecedented collaboration with the county, the city and the towns and villages."
He takes over the last year of Mahoney’s term November 1.