A week after being elected Syracuse’s first independent mayor in 100 years, Ben Walsh is getting to work. Walsh met this week with the outgoing Miner Administration, as he begins crafting the first mayoral administration without the backing of a political party.
Getting the nuts and bolts of the transition process together is job one, says Walsh. He expects much of the transition framework to be in place shortly. After that comes the biggest decisions he’ll make between now and January 1.
“The thing I’m most anxious about is the hiring process. Making sure I get the right people in place,” Walsh said.
He’ll have to hire a new police chief, fire chief and a chief of staff. Then there are all the other department heads in city hall. Walsh has a history with some of them. He worked as Miner’s head of economic development for six years.
“I suspect there will be people that stay on, but there definitely will be some new faces come January 1,” he said.
He also comes to this transition from a politically unique perspective. Walsh won without the backing of any political party.
“That does play a role in the hiring process,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about who might be sitting on what committee, or is the chair of a particular ward. That is liberating.”
And there has already been plenty of interest from people wanting to join the administration.
“We’ve had a lot of job inquiries, people interested in working for the city,” he said. “So we want to establish a process whereby anyone that’s interested in working for the city can formally express their interest. So we’ll have a landing page on our website and an email where people can do that.”