On election day I was pondering the future of our city. Who would be the next mayor? As I have said many times, the mayor is the most important person in all of city government. Because Utica's charter gives the mayor a lot of power, it is really one person that can affect the destiny of our city.
As the day wore on, I thought of the possible outcomes of the balloting. I felt that the race was really between Palmieri/Cerminaro. Due to the fact that Democrats out number Republicans by a large majority in Utica, it seemed that Palmieri had an automatic edge. Anyone who follows Utica politics is sure to realize the folly of that statement! Nothing here is ever certain-especially elections.
The spoiler for Mike Cerminaro, as it turned out, was the fact that Cardillo stayed in the race. Most "good Republicans" are expected to close ranks after losing a primary and endorse the party's choice. Cardillo chose to soldier on and pursue his dream. That had a dramatic effect on the eventual outcome.
Palmieri and Cerminaro represent the last of the "old guard" political leaders of the late 80's and 90's. Along with former Common Counsel members such as the late Rodger Amodio, Barbara Klein, Roger Palek. (I also served for six years on the counsel with these folks), Palmieri and Cerminaro worked together many years on the Common Counsel. Rob was the only member of that group to have never run for mayor. We all did. We all lost.
It was also an unprecidented election in that there were a total of five candidates running. The vote split would affect the out come, but only in one way-Palmieri or Cerminaro?
No one ever really thought Sanita/Clemente actually had a shot at victory. Cardillo was a long shot as well. But their votes would make the decision about who would lead the city for the next four years.
And that split has apparently lead to Robert Palmieri being the peoples choice.
As a former candidate for the top position in city government, I know how difficult it is to mount a city wide campaign. These five men should be congratulated for their dedication to our city. Having such a large slate of candidates is a testament to the dire need for real leadership and dedication to the position that has been absent during the Roefaro administration. All five men articulated passion for Utica during the campaign and a desire to translate their vision into action. In the end, only one can be chosen. The choice was Palmieri.
Now its up to Rob to lead the city. Imagine, on January 13 he was fired by Roefaro and escorted by police out of City Hall. Today, he now replaces the man who fired him!
Only in Utica, folks. Only in Utica!