Thursday, December 29, 2011

Friday is Inauguration Day-Time for a Fresh Start

Well, it's finally here-out with the old, in with the new!

That's the spirit of New Year's. Why not extend that spirit to City Hall as well?

In celebration of the end of the Roefaro debacle, a big inauguration ceremony is planned for Friday, December 30th, 2011. The new Mayor, Robert Palmieri and Common Council members will be sworn in and on Sunday, the past four years will be but a memory.

What a memory!

Let's have a final review. Remember, when our man Dave first got elected? The promise of a new, fresh start?  It was quite exciting. There was a chance that things could be different somehow. And, for a while it was. But, it happened. The thing we most feared. The job changed the man.

It happened at first in small ways. The secrecy and the closed door, hush-hush meetings. The lack of direction and leadership from the top. Then, "King" Dave decreed that he was the the only reason that anything good would ever happen in our little city.

Let me explain. Once, at a meeting to discuss the stalled parking garage project, the king launched into a tirade explaining how truly important he was. "I am the only reason anything good ever happens here," he snarled. "I make it happen! NOTHING will ever get accomplished here, no one in Albany will ever help us if I am not Mayor!"

The shocked attendees, a mix of department heads and local consultants, filed quietly out the door of the Mayor's conference room. We all knew, somehow, that it was all over. The job changed the man.

Or, possibly the job just intensified the man that was always there. Maybe, a job like being mayor, can never really change someone. Perhaps, it just enables the true personality to shine through, unencumbered by the bounds of what is acceptable in private business.

Or maybe it's the power. Being mayor, even of a small, struggling city like Utica, can bring a lot of power to an individual. Whether it's real or perceived power, it can change a person. We have seen that throughout the years. And, we have paid for it as well.

So, Dave Roefaro, becomes mayor as a local business man and leaves office a "King." His words, not mine.

Now the cycle begins again. A new man, a new era. Will Rob Palmieri declare himself king one day?
I doubt it. Will the job change him? Hopefully not.  He has inherited a super-human challenge from his predecessors. I don't think he will have much time to dally with royal titles.

This is truly the make-or-break moment that our city has been waiting for. Or fearing. It all depends on the man at the top.

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