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Politics & Government

County Exec. Joanie Mahoney Looks Beyond the Rhetoric for Real Conversation About Consolidation

Scott Willis

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the swift opposition from some officials about the recommendation of a metropolitan government amounts to nothing more than scare tactics and fear mongering.  We caught up with Mahoney to round out our series on the potential impact of the Consensus Commission’s final report.

Mahoney says she’s always been a proponent of more efficient government, and has continued the county’s track record of combining city and county departments. 

"They've worked and they have not resulted in the dire projections that everybody said they were going to," Mahoney said.  "Now we have a more enlightened electorate that can see that we've done these consolidations,  and that the sky hasn't fallen, and maybe we'll dismiss some of the rhetoric and get into the meat of the conversation."

County lawmakers Thursday announced they formed a subcommittee to study all but one of the Consensus recommendations, which Mahoney supports.  But lawmakers, and Mayor Stephanie Miner say their opposed to the form of metropolitan government proposed by Consensus.

"Anybody who tells you they're opposed to this, if they're in elected office, I think has a responsibility to offer you an alternative," Mahoney said.  "How do you see the community going forward in a healthy fiscal condition where the next generation is going to be able to thrive here.  Just standing up and saying no to this is easy."

Mahoney feels strongly that current leaders should advance the discussion, not scuttle it.

"The government is bigger than us, and will go on long after we are gone," Mahoney said.  "We have a responsibility as the occupants of these chairs right now to take this effort seriously, and respectfully share what we know with the people who live here so they can make informed decisions."