Onondaga County

Courtesy Tom Dadey

Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey is endorsing Donald Trump for president. Dadey and Trump go back a few years to 2014, when he was part of a group that met with Trump to discuss a run for governor. Trump at one point came to Syracuse for a GOP fundraiser, and Dadey has been a fan ever since.

"Our economy is sluggish, we’re not respected in the world and we need somebody who is going to be a good strong leader, and I believe that is Donald Trump," Dadey said.

He said he’s not the only one in central New York with that opinion.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

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.

New York Invasive Species Information

Onondaga County’s ash tree management plan could be losing some momentum. The plan to take down or treat trees infected by the emerald ash borer could face cuts in its anticipated funding.

The Onondaga County Legislature Ways and Means Committee have balked at the $1 million bond that would pay for this year’s fight against the emerald ash borer infestation. They say $750,000 is a better figure in light of the county’s stagnant sales tax numbers. 

WRVO News

2015 was a banner year for kidney transplants at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. Surgeons performed 80 transplants, the most ever.

For the last 25 years, doctors at Upstate averaged about 30-40 kidney transplants a year, according to transplant chief Rainer Gruessner.

“The institution made a commitment to transplantation," Gruessner said. "More people came on board in terms of faculty and staff. New York State is underserved in terms of transplant facilities. And, that all contributed to the fact that last year the most kidney transplants were done at upstate.”

Consensus CNY

The discussion over consolidating government in Onondaga County will begin in earnest in the coming days.  And, it should be a lively debate.

The starting point for this discussion is Consensus CNY, the commission on local government modernization that was formed two years ago by the city of Syracuse, Onondaga County and some non-profit groups. It’s expected to issue preliminary recommendations by the end of this month.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department is starting up a couple of new programs in response to the opioid abuse epidemic in Central New York. 

Addicted inmates at the Onondaga County Justice Center will have an option to help start the process of kicking the habit, with a dose of a drug called Vivitrol. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

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

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.

Doug Kerr / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2016 agenda includes more spending on transportation infrastructure and a plan to ease tolls on the the New York State Thruway for some New Yorkers.

Cuomo unveiled the latest peek into his plans for the coming year in Liverpool yesterday, proposing $22 billion for fixing roads and bridges upstate over the next five years, in what he calls the biggest ever transportation capital plan.

Sidsel Overgaard / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon was already in the midst of learning about the connection between deer and Lyme disease last summer, when he noticed a bulls-eye rash on his son’s back.

"And I freaked out and I went to urgent care and I knew more what I was talking about than some of the folks did there. So I’ve seen on all ends of the spectrum how this can impact from a concerned parent, to talking with parents who’ve had their children with this issue, to talking with adults who’ve been bitten and have Lyme disease,” said McMahon.

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.   

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

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.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Raising the pay of elected officials can often be a prickly political endeavor. Onondaga County lawmakers now find themselves in the midst of it while considering potential raises for themselves and other elected county officials, including the county executive.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has not had a raise in the eight years she’s been in charge of county government. Neither have members of the county legislature. All agreed in the wake of the recession in 2008 that raises would be inappropriate. But now, the politically hot topic is coming up again.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative award to central New York signals a turning of the tide for the area. The region's economic development plan was one of three big winners in Cuomo's competition to invest $1.5 billion in upstate. At a ceremony in Syracuse Sunday to commemorate the region's success, Cuomo said this investment in upstate rights a wrong.

SU professional and technical writing / via Flickr

A six-year highway funding bill passed by the House of Representatives last week would remove $564 million from New York's current federal transportation funding.

A last-minute amendment to the House bill would move $1.6 billion in funding from seven Northeastern states to a general discretionary fund for use by the entire nation. Current law allows these high density areas to receive the extra funding because they account for half of all transit in the country. Sen. Charles Schumer said the loss of funding for New York is a travesty for the state's transit system.

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.

WRVO News file photo/TobyShelley.com

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.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Union workers ratified a contract with Otsego County government on Monday.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner are lobbying for more money from New York state to pay for infrastructure improvement. Standing in the shadow of the Evans Street Bridge in Syracuse that the state calls deficient, DiNapoli called on Albany to help localities fix bridges and roads that are falling apart. He said a recent report shows that local government spending on infrastructure has dropped dramatically.

Nell Conway / Flickr

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

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency has agreed to purchase a site along Onondaga Lake that has been contaminated by industrial pollution for years. County officials are hoping the site can be cleaned and used for development.

The Canadian-based company, American Iron and Metal, which owns Roth Steel, a former scrap yard along Onondaga Lake, came to a settlement so the county could purchase the property. American Iron and Metal wanted to reopen the "pick and pull" junk yard but the county said they had the option to use eminent domain to take over the property.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County’s new Second Chance Canine Adoption Shelter has opened up at the Jamesville Correctional Facility.  

Key Foster / Flickr

The Onondaga County Drug Task Force continues to look for ways to keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands. A new pilot program launched this month will place them in the hands of police.

Nine police agencies, including the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, are putting out collection bins in their offices for unused prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as used needles.

Gail Banach, of the Upstate New York Poison Center, says the idea is to create a safe place to drop drugs that otherwise could be abused.

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

There are about 1,800 vacant buildings in the city of Syracuse, according to the Syracuse Land Bank, which steps in to stabilize a property and resell it to responsible buyers when it gets foreclosed. A recently released audit of the land bank by Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse finds that while the organization has many successes, some potential problems lie ahead.

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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