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Onondaga County Executive Mahoney resigns, legislature Chairman McMahon seeks her spot

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

After serving eleven years as the Onondaga County Executive, Joanie Mahoney is stepping down for a job as the chief operating officer at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. County legislature chairman Ryan McMahon is seeking to fill out the remainder of her term.

Mahoney said she will be leaving the county in a good position with strong finances and infrastructure, a clean Onondaga Lake and a diverse workforce.

“I wanted this community to be a place where young people were more likely to stay," Mahoney said. "I think that big goal that I’ve had, we’ve moved the needle in that direction.”

She credited a thriving downtown Syracuse and improvements like the amphitheater for building momentum.

Mahoney will start at SUNY ESF in November working with the interim president and she will also serve as an assistant to matters relating to SUNY Upstate Medical University. 

Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media
WRVO Public Media
Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon with fellow legislators.

Shortly after Mahoney’s announcement, legislature chairman Ryan McMahon stated he would be running for her position. The legislature will appoint someone to fill in as county executive until an election is held next year, something McMahon indicated he also wants to pursue.

“I have no interest in being a placeholder," McMahon said. "I’ve dedicated my career, since I was in my early 20s, to serving my community. I still think I have a lot to offer. I think there is a lot of excitement about what’s in store for our region.”

McMahon’s appointment to the vacancy would need a sponsor and nine votes to fill the seat. He was joined by 13 other legislators who are supporting his bid. An appointment resolution could be held next week.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.