It was a busy first day for Schenectady's new acting mayor, Gary McCarthy. He got a very early start to his day as he visited city employees. YNN's Sabina Kuriakose has the details.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Acting Mayor Gary McCarthy stepped into the city's top job Monday. The Democrat and City Council president took the reins from now former Mayor Brian Stratton, who left to head the state's Canal Corporation.
"People seem to be very supportive of me," McCarthy said. "I'm excited about it and look forward to this opportunity to serve the city in a somewhat different capacity."
As his first order of business, McCarthy held a midnight meeting with police to discuss the leadership transition. McCarthy said the zero tolerance policy for officers caught on the wrong side of the law established under Stratton will continue under his watch.
"You're seeing the department police itself," he said. "You never had Schenectady police officers arresting Schenectady police officers."
McCarthy said it's time now to reestablish trust between the people and police.
"Now I believe that the focus has to shift on the actual delivery of service. That the police are out there, they're making the arrests, they're doing the proactive things in the neighborhood which create that sense of stability and safety," he said.
McCarthy continued his meet and greet agenda with early-morning visits with city sanitation and public works employees.
The new mayor said at the top of his agenda is the city's difficult financial situation, even as funding cuts loom from the federal government. McCarthy said tough decisions will have to be made, and he wants everyone, from city officials to workers to the people, to participate. Though lowering taxes is a hot button topic, McCarthy said everyone will need to sacrifice, including himself.
"We are under significant fiscal pressures that will rival the difficult budget year that we went through last year," said McCarthy. "I'm going to set an example and expect other city employees and department heads to follow that. I'm not going to have a car. I'm not going to increase those expenses. We're going to do things in most cost effective way we can."
And so far, McCarthy's message seems welcome, at least among these city employees.
"Seems like a standup guy, so give him a chance," said a sanitation employee.
"Absolutely, and I think most people would feel the same way," said Schenectady DPW employee Mike Cordeiro when asked if he'd vote for McCarthy in the fall. "But let's see how the rest of the year goes."
McCarthy said he'll be meeting with his advisors on April 26 and will then announce whether he intends on running for mayor in the fall.