Joanie Mahoney

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

A report on government consolidation in Onondaga County will be released early next year by a Consensus, a commission looking at the modernization of local government. One potential recommendation for saving substantial tax dollars could be the creation of a county-wide municipal government.

Whenever Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney starts talking government consolidation, it generally begins with a story about snow and the 19 towns, 15 villages, and city, county and state snowplows that clear the streets after a snowstorm.

Local elections were held around the country last Tuesday, and while the Syracuse region did not contain the drama of the Kentucky governor’s race or the Houston equal rights ordinance, there were nonetheless some local results of note, and some tea leaves embedded in the details of expected outcomes.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher mines those with two local political reporters, Teri Weaver of the Syracuse Post-Standard and Ellen Abbot of WRVO Public Media. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney won re-election by more than 19 percentage points last night. She said voters want Republicans and Democrats to work together and Onondaga County is moving past the negativity of a polluted rust belt region towards a bright future.

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On Election Day, voters will make decisions about various levels of Onondaga County government . The entire legislature is up for election, and there are several countywide races. District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick is running unopposed, but there are contested races for comptroller and county clerk. But the biggest office up for grabs is for Onondaga County executive. 

The race pits a well-heeled incumbent going against an opponent who lost support from his party’s leadership.

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The Onondaga County policy of placing 16- and 17-year olds into solitary confinement at the Jamesville Correctional facility is under the microscope.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s proposed 2016 budget is pretty much a status quo document. Spending is down slightly and the tax levy is down a bit  to a historic low. The only fee increases involve sewer rates that are part of a five-year sewer improvement plan. The only proposal that is generating flak initially is a proposal to change the legislature’s budget calendar.

Mahoney’s first budget experience laid the groundwork for this year’s proposal to push the legislature’s budget deadline from October to December.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Country music star Miranda Lambert played to a full house at Onondaga County’s new Lakeview Amphitheater Thursday night. Now that the stage has its first concert under its belt, what does the future holds for the entertainment venue?

First off, it’s going to be intimately intertwined with the New York State Fair. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made that clear this week when he outlined specifics regarding a $50 million renovation of the town of Geddes fairgrounds. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced on Tuesday that construction is now complete on the new Lakeview Amphitheater along Onondaga Lake. Country singer Miranda Lambert will be the opening act, scheduled to perform on September 3.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County and its biggest union are close to agreeing to a contract. As WRVO’s Ellen Abbott reports, the county and CSEA leadership have agreed to the terms within a fact-finding report from the New York State Employment Relations Board.

The deal includes modest wage increases over five years, and raises health insurance contributions from employees. County Executive Joanie Mahoney says that reflects a changing trend in contracts for government employees, who traditionally were paid less than private sector counterparts, but had better benefits packages.

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Onondaga County has the funds set aside that would create plans for a swimmable beach on Onondaga Lake.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney believes recent studies that have deemed parts of the lake is clean enough to swim in brings the reality of a beach closer.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The final piece in the Onondaga County's Lakeview Amphitheater project is in place. Country singer Miranda Lambert has been inked as the first artist to play the venue. It’s taken just a little over year to get the sometimes controversial project ready for prime time.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Country music superstar Miranda Lambert will be the inaugural act at Onondaga County’s newly constructed Lakeview Amphitheater.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced Wednesday that Lambert will appear September 3. Even though that leaves promoters with five weeks to sell tickets, Mahoney is optimistic there will be a full house.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

With so-called “swatting” attacks on the rise across the country and central New York, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has introduced a new federal bill to crack down on the practice. Swatting involves deliberate false alarms called into authorities that often cause deployment of a police SWAT team.  

Swatting will become a federal crime Schumer has anything do with it.  

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Syracuse Common Councilors have gone on record opposing the idea of resurrecting a junk yard along the shores of Onondaga Lake, near Destiny USA and the Inner Harbor development.  But they are at odds with the mayor’s office over how to do it.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Democrats in Onondaga County have nominated the candidates they want to see on the ballot in 2015. Toby Shelley, a former Onondaga County sheriff's deputy, will run for county executive against Republican incumbent Joanie Mahoney. Last year, Shelley ran and lost the race for Onondaga County Sheriff.

Onondaga County Democratic Committee Chairman Mark English says Democrats made a hard push to get candidates to run for 12 positions in the Onondaga County Legislature this year. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney is kicking off her campaign for re-election with an endorsement from a group that doesn’t traditionally back Republicans.  

The Alliance Network is a leading Syracuse-area community organization that represents many of Syracuse’s minority interests. It has only endorsed two Republicans in its history, former Rep. Jim Walsh and Mahoney, when she ran for a second term as county executive four years ago.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It’s been just over a year since Onondaga County got out of the business of running a nursing home. And according to Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, the sale of the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing to the Upstate Services Group has been a good move.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Central New York Republicans are weighing in on the scandal surrounding the New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos scandal.  

Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey is calling for Skelos to resign, so state government can get back to the people’s business, instead of what he calls wasting tax dollars and time defending the Long Island Republican.  

Onondaga County

For the first time since Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed spending $50 million to update the New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes, central New York is getting a look at some of ways that money could  be spent.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The political jockeying in New York state is well underway, as special interests vie for part of an approximately $5 billion budget windfall, courtesy of settlements with the banking industry earlier this year. There’s a vocal contingent of state and local lawmakers, including Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who believe that money should be used to fix crumbling upstate infrastructure. But not everyone in central New York is entirely on board with this plan.  

Onondaga County

It’s been a busy year for economic development for Central New York.  And one of the highest profile projects that will be completed in 2015 is the $100 million amphitheater and Solvay revitalization project. This kind of economic development reflects a new reality when it comes to paying for government.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says central New Yorkers should expect to hear more from her than usual next year, as she runs for a third term.

At this point, she hasn’t made any formal declarations about running. “I did not make any kind of official announcement, and I think I broke protocol, but I happened to be talking to a reporter who asked if I was running and I said I planned to," she told WRVO.

She does plan to make that formal announcement, she said.

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Officials in Onondaga County want to be ready if a case of Ebola turns up in central New York. Earlier this week, all of the players who would be involved in treating the virus laid out a road map for Ebola preparedness.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

It was a relatively easy budget season for Onondaga County lawmakers this fall. Legislators unanimously approved County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s proposed $1.25 billion spending plan. There was only one hiccup; concern about spending more money for construction of a dog kennel at the Jamesville Correctional Facility.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the support of several high profile Republicans, including Larry Rockefeller. But in a newly released campaign ad that started airing Tuesday, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney is publicly giving the governor her endorsement for reelection.

"I'm a Republican and I'm supporting Gov. Cuomo," Mahoney said in the 30 second commercial. "We can't afford to go back to the way things were. Let's keep New York moving forward with Andrew Cuomo."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Slightly lower property taxes and decreased spending are the hallmarks of Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s proposed $1.25 billion spending plan.

The debate over the budget may ultimately be overshadowed by another proposal from Mahoney this week for a bond that will pay for the Onondaga Lake amphitheater project.

At the end of ten days of budget reviews, county lawmakers have injected a review of the western Onondaga Lake revitalization project, that includes construction of an amphitheater on the west shore of Onondaga Lake.

When Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner sent a letter to President Obama offering to host undocumented Latin American children at a former convent, a spirited version of the immigration debate erupted in the area.  On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher continues his interview of both Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  They discuss the  hosting decision, and also have a more general conversation about leadership and politics in the region.

Syracuse is facing a host of challenges and opportunities; front and center among them are the replacing of I-81 and the economic development of the city.  On this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney sit down together with host Grant Reeher to discuss these key issues. 

Note: See the transcript below for highlights of the conversation.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A New York Times report alleges that a senior aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo interfered with the work of the Moreland Commission, the group the governor appointed to investigate corruption in Albany. The Times story also accuses Cuomo's office of trying to stop the commission from investigating groups tied to him. Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney was a member of the commission and Grant Reeher, host of WRVO's Campbell Conversations, interviewed Mahoney after the Times report came out.

GR: With this report, are you surprised by anything in it?

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The sight of cranes in the air, and shovels in the ground abound in central New York this summer.  That doesn’t jive though, with the latest job figures from New York state that the Syracuse area continues to lose jobs at an alarming rate.