Syracuse Common Councilors unanimously selected Democrat Michael Greene to fill an empty at-large seat left open by Helen Hudson after she was elected council president. Lawmakers say Greene had the best grasp of council issues out of three finalists.
The 30-year-old lost a primary race last year for a district council seat. Councilor Joe Driscoll says it was that experience that put Greene ahead of two other finalists for the job, including Lanessa Owens, whose name was withdrawn from a council agenda at the last minute.
Greene, who lives in Armory Square, has a background in economic development. He grew up on Onondaga Hill and after spending several years in New York City, returned to central New York to be near his family.
Greene says losing a campaign for a council district seat last fall will help him.
"I mean, I’ll hit the ground running a little bit," Greene said. "The fact that I ran will make it easy to jump right in.”
If he wants to keep the seat, Greene will need to win a possible Democratic primary and general election in the fall. So his first piece of business is meeting city residents.
“Going into the community and holding sessions or an office-hour environment where people can come get coffee and talk to me about what their issues are, what’s important to them," Greene said. "Because I wasn’t directly elected to the people."
Driscoll says this unanimous vote for Greene is a sign that this council can work together, despite differences.
"I feel there was good communication around this," Driscoll said. "We were able to explain how we felt, and vote unanimously when it came in the moment. I feel really hopeful with the new administration, and with this new council, we can have a more unified front.”