Former Democratic mayoral candidate Andrew Maxwell is leading the transition between Mayor Stephanie Miner’s administration and the newly elected independent mayor, Ben Walsh. As the different departments at city hall prepare briefings on their operations, Maxwell, who will act as a liaison between the two administrations, said there is a reoccurring theme.
“How do you continue to provide effective community services with ever more challenging budgets?” Maxwell asked.
Maxwell has spent more than 10 years at city hall. He said the difficulty lies in the increasing costs for personnel and health pensions. This comes as the city continues to face yearly budget deficits.
Some Democrats call the loss of their mayoral candidate Juanita Perez Williams to Walsh, heartbreaking. But Maxwell said he wasn’t terribly surprised.
“Obviously, this was a unique race," Maxwell said. "It’s different from what we’ve seen in years past. It was a very energetic campaign on all sides.”
Maxwell lost narrowly to Councilor Joe Nicoletti for the mayoral Democratic designation, earlier this year. Perez Williams went on to defeat Nicoletti in the primary. Maxwell said his future with the party is not entirely up to him.
“I still feel committed to a progressive vision for this community," Maxwell said. "That leads me to believe that there is something I can do to contribute to that and to help strengthen the local Democratic Party if there is a place for me, if I’m still welcomed there. Hopefully, the party can be built into something stronger, more open and diverse. I'd be very excited about that because I think that is part of how you strengthen a community: you have parties and institutions that care about values, that are willing to do the work. I like to do that work. I would be excited to do that work, if there is a place for me.”
Walsh’s win as an independent means for the first time in 16 years, Democrats will lose control of city hall.