Joanie Mahoney begins her new job at SUNY ESF and Upstate Medical University in Syracuse this month, and she expects a smooth transition into a job that was created for her.
Mahoney will join the SUNY as the first chief operating officer at SUNY ESF. She will also be a special advisor at Upstate. Her goal, she said, will be to keep both operations running smoothly.
"As I’ve said to the faculty that I've had the opportunity to meet, I see my role as providing the supports around, in terms of all of the ancillary functions, but especially the finances, to make sure you have what you need to teach the students. That’s what I see my role as.”
Specifically, she'll be trying to find ways to fix the financial issues facing each institution.
"Since we have two big SUNY institutions just a couple of blocks from each other, it’s unusual in the SUNY system," Mahoney said. "Where are the places that we should be working together better to make things easier for both teams that are having to put budgets together.”
Mahoney says it’s something that fits in her wheelhouse. As county executive, she oversaw government consolidation and modernization on several fronts.
"It’s a different subject matter, but the exact same language I’ve been speaking. Which is, where are we going to do things more modern, more efficiently, recognizing there is pressure on the revenue," she said. "Is there a way to grow out of the fiscal problems.”
Mahoney said she won’t have any involvement in the academic missions of either institution. She said the job came about through her connection with SUNY’s chief operating officer, and her concerns about troubles at Upstate and SUNY ESF, two of the largest employers in Onondaga County.
Ryan McMahon, who had been serving as chairman of the Onondaga County legislature, takes over as the new county executive Friday.