Joanie Mahoney

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a $30 million dollar airstrip that will test unmanned aircraft or drones will be built in central New York. The flight traffic management system is part of an overall push to drive the drone industry into the region.

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Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney rolled up her sleeve this week, not to work, but to show central New Yorkers how easy it is to get a flu shot.

"This took me less than a minute, and if you get the flu, you are down for a couple days and you’re making everybody around you sick,” Mahoney said. “It is a much better use of your time to take one minute and get your flu shot.”

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named a committee to come up with proposals for another big state investment in the New York State Fair.

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Onondaga County almost wiggled out of a multi-million dollar budget deficit with no layoffs, because of an early retirement buyout plan.

But after all the numbers were counted, the county is still looking at a half a million dollar hole for next year. County Executive Joanie Mahoney is proposing cuts that include 12 layoffs to close that gap. That means lawmakers have to go back to the budget drawing board.

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A court ruling doesn’t seem to have quashed the bad blood between the Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci and County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s administration. Both sides are claiming victory following a lawsuit that accused county lawmakers of illegally giving themselves and other elected officials a raise last year.

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An experiment in government consolidation has failed in central New York -- a victim of a difference of opinion over how to create jobs and promote economic growth in Syracuse and Onondaga County and the continued deterioration of the relationship between the mayor and county executive.

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Onondaga County lawmakers will vote Tuesday on County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s $1.3 billion budget. Legislators have made some tweaks to the spending plan following budget hearings. But a dispute over staffing cuts in the comptroller’s department could be the most controversial issue.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Syracuse Jazz Fest will celebrate its 35th year next year. And it will do that at Onondaga Community College, it’s home for the last several years, and with the expected full support of Onondaga County government. That didn’t seem like a sure thing after several days of controversy over a budgetary move.

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There seems to be plenty of interest from Onondaga County employees in an early retirement program. County officials hope that interest is real, because if not enough employees take advantage of it, there will have to be layoffs.

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Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney took a page out of recommendations made by the government consolidation group Consensus for one of the cornerstone proposals in her 2017 proposed budget. Mahoney wants to merge the agencies that deliver water to taps across Onondaga County.

The way things work now, the county-run Metropolitan Water Board is in charge of bringing water to Onondaga County. Then OCWA, the independent Onondaga County Water Authority, sells it to businesses and homeowners.

Mahoney’s plan would fold the operations of the county-run department into OCWA.

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Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney wants to offer a voluntary, $10,000 buyout for eligible county workers to retire this year. The Onondaga County Legislature would have to approve the program.

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Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney is defending the state's economic development competitions such as the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, which pitted different regions of the state against each other for financial aid. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development projects have come under fire as the Buffalo Billion project is currently under a federal investigation.

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A convention on the traffic management of unmanned aircraft systems will be held in Syracuse and Rome this fall. The state’s commitment to fund drone programs helped land central New York the convention.

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Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci is speaking out against the Consensus CNY commission’s preliminary report on local government consolidation released earlier this year. 

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Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney used her State of the County speech last night to push the concept of consolidated government.  

Mahoney ran down a litany of speeches, quotes, editorials and newspaper articles from the last 23 years that sounded eerily familiar to the soundbites coming out of today’s Consensus CNY forums. Consensus is the community group that’s proposing 51 ways to modernize government, including creation of a metropolitan government. Mahoney explained why the look at past efforts:

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In her State of the County address, County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced that $20 million dollars from the region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative will go towards Syracuse’s Say Yes to Education endowment. The program provides college tuition to public high school graduates in Syracuse and was facing a fundraising shortfall until the announcement.

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Residents of Onondaga County will have more time to have their say about reorganizing local government. There have been calls for more time to look at an 80-page report that includes 51 recommendations for changing the way government works in central New York.

The deadline for public comment had been March 16. But Friday morning, Consensus CNY extended the comment period by six weeks, to May 1.

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Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the recent lawsuit between the city of Syracuse and the developers of the Inner Harbor project hurts Central New York. The city sued COR Development after COR went to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency for tax breaks on the project. The city said the developer agree to not seek tax breaks from the county. But earlier this week, a judge dismissed the suit, saying there was no proof of an agreement.

Mahoney says ultimately litigation like this, sends a negative message to anyone that wants to do business in Syracuse.

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The dispute over pay raises for Onondaga County elected officials will have its day in court next month.  

The raises lawmakers voted themselves and County Executive Joanie Mahoney last December continue to make waves. County Comptroller Bob Antonacci is taking the county to court. He claims that the move violated the Onondaga County charter. Since announcing the lawsuit, accusations of politics have been flying back and forth between the two sides.    

Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon is among those named in the suit.

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Sales tax revenue is down for almost half of New York state’s 64 counties. Sales tax receipts were down across the state by 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to 2014.

Officials with the New York State Association of Counties say this is a troubling trend, because the fourth quarter includes holiday sales, which traditionally boost sales tax revenues. Officials don’t know exactly what’s causing the decline in spending. 

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Change in the way government is organized could be on the way to Onondaga County. The first step towards a municipal government that includes both the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County has taken place with the release of the Consensus CNY commission’s preliminary report.

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Onondaga County held a heroin and opioid forum to provide information on the drug epidemic and how users can get help. Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta said people who are addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.

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Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick wants to give the youth in the county the opportunity to join law enforcement in a new four-year program. The program is designed to be a deterrent from young people joining a gang.

Matt Coulter / Syracuse University

The conflict between the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County over tax abatements for the development of the Inner Harbor of the city has raised questions about the working relationship between the mayor and the county executive.  On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher discusses this conflict with both Mayor Stephanie Miner and County Executive Joanie Mahoney, in their first joint appearance to discuss the issue.  In a spirited but respectful conversation, the two executives set forward their views of what was done, what should have been done, and why.

Matt Coulter / Syracuse University

After listening to WRVO's Friday news excerpt from the Campbell Conversations interview with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, the Post-Standard's Chris Baker wrote that it embodied a "a more civil approach to the dialogue than previous exchanges."  I want to expand on that impression.  

Matt Coulter / Syracuse University

Note: The full interview will be broadcast on The Campbell Conversations, Saturday at 6 a.m. and again Sunday at 6 p.m. Audio and transcript of the full interview will be posted online Saturday morning. 

Matt Coulter / Syracuse University

WRVO Public Media will air the first joint interview with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney this weekend during "The Campbell Conversations." This is the first joint interview between Mahoney and Miner since a public dispute (and lawsuit) over county tax breaks given to a developer the city of Syracuse alleges it had previous arrangements with.

The third time wasn’t a charm for Onondaga County CSEA workers, as members of the county’s largest union have again rejected a contract offer.

The vote wasn’t close: 1057 workers were opposed to the agreement, only 747 agreed with it. 

This is the third negotiated deal between Onondaga County and employees of several departments, including the district attorney’s office, the Department of Social Services and OCC.   

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An attempt to reverse pay raises for some Onondaga County elected officials is still alive, but barely. Republican Legislator Kevin Holmquist railed against the 15 and 30 percent raises for legislators and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney when they were voted on last month. Now, he's trying to get those raises rescinded.

Holmquist couldn’t get the votes to consider it at the Legislature’s organizational meeting this week and had to settle for potentially taking it through the committee process.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County legislators and County Executive Joanie Mahoney will be getting raises in January.

It will be the first raise for everyone since before the recession, when they took a break from pay increases. And, that’s been part of the problem. Because there haven’t been pay increases in such a long time, the current proposal raises pay for the county executive by almost 30 percent, and for lawmakers by 15 percent.

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