Joanie Mahoney Reflects after Major Onon County Political Shift Complete without an Election

Nov 5, 2018

Joanie Mahoney officially left to County Exec post at the end of October; Ryan McMahon was sworn into the office November 3rd.
Credit WAER News

Onondaga County Voters didn’t have a choice this year to select a new County Executive… that’s a year away... however, the change at top of county government is now complete.  Joanie Mahoney is reflecting back on her list of accomplishments, including stepping-in at a critical point when lawmakers were poised to build a sewage treatment plant near Armory Square. 

“One had been built on the South side and it created a lot of controversy around issues having to do with social justice, like why would you build a sewage treatment plant in a neighborhood where there’s concentrations of poverty when you know you would not be doing that if the same problem were in one of the more affluent suburbs. We put a moratorium on building any more of those.  We switched to the Save the Rain (project). We now keep the clean water out of the system so we don’t have to spend all this money and we don’t have these overflows that were resulting in bacteria making its way into the lake.”

‘Save the Rain’ satisfied a portion of the federal Judgement to clean-up Onondaga Lake. 

She adds the county portion of property tax bills for government services became lower under her watch.

“When we renegotiated the sales tax-sharing formula with the city of Syracuse, it gave us the ability to give people some property-tax relief but then we went further.  We reduced the cost and size of county government.”

Mahoney was often criticized by local G-O-P party Chair Tom Dadey because she supported Democratic Governor Cuomo.  However, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh says that relationship paid dividends.

“She has done great work for all of the people in Onondaga County, including the city of Syracuse and I think this is a good handing-off of the baton going forward.”

Mahoney trusts that Ryan McMahon will continue initiatives developed while she was in office and holds similar views that a vibrant city is key to having an economic engine for the county.  He was sworn in as county executive this weekend. 

Mahoney takes part in REad to Kids day while County Executive
Credit WAER News


Mahoney says she'll have a few weeks off before moving into her new post as Chief Opeatinvg Officer of SUNY ESF and as a consultant to SUNY Upstate.  She says she's heard - and understands - criticism about the appointment.

"I would say to people at SUNY that I see my role as a support for the institutions. That's where my strength lies and if you just give me a chance, I think I can answer some of the critiques just by performing the way I know I can."

She points to positive change and finsihed projects on the county level as examples of how she will be able to perform in the new role.