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Lawmakers focus on McMahon's lead policies, Micron plans

Onondaga County lawmakers vote on measures that effectively close Jamesville Correctional Facility Feb. 7, 2023
Scott Willis
Onondaga County legislators meet in chambers, Feb. 7, 2023. In the front row sits Democratic Floor Leader Chris Ryan (far right), while in the back row sits Colleen Gunnip (second from left).

The Onondaga County executive's plans to address lead poisoning and prepare for Micron are getting attention from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

At his State of the County speech on Wednesday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon outlined many of his priorities for 2023, including the addition of enrichment services for children with elevated blood lead levels, on top of the ongoing testing and abatement efforts.

Another expands workforce development partnerships and outreach in anticipation of the workers needed for the I-81 replacement project and Micron.

Legislator Colleen Gunnip, a fellow Republican, applauded McMahon's work. She said said he appears to be spreading his attention evenly across the board.

"When he became the county executive, it wasn't just a one-sided balance headed just towards economic development," Gunnip said after the executive's State of the County address. "He had it well-rounded to include health and human services, public safety, economic development, our infrastructure. So I think everything has been addressed, and to continue to make that balance happen is our job as legislators."

Gunnip said much of what McMahon highlighted has already been partially approved by the County Legislature through last fall’s budget process. She said lawmakers are just awaiting details on the projects before they’re asked to take the money out of contingency.

Something that might come across their desks in the months ahead is what’s called Plan Onondaga, a wide-ranging blueprint that will guide the county’s growth from Micron and other development. Democratic Legislator Chris Ryan said he looks forward to learning more of the details.

"We've been talking about that in my caucus and some of their legislators about what that will entail and what it looks like," the minority leader said. "Because that's going to be a big comprehensive plan, that's going to have some dollars behind it, but it's also going to be impactful for many, many communities."

McMahon said Wednesday night that Plan Onondaga should be finalized in a few weeks.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at