Wanted Mayor With A by liuqingyan


									    Wanted: Mayor With A
     Metropolitan Vision

    Mayoral Election 2009

Candidate Long Answer Responses
Navigating the Fiscal Crisis 1:
Question: Short-term Structural Changes to City Finances: What is your short-term plan to bring the City of
Syracuse‘s budget into structural balance? On the revenue side, how will you attract new revenues into the City budget?
Will you increase taxes? What role will stimulus funds play in assisting you in balancing the budget? On the
expenditure side, do you support cutting costs of City operations? How will you address the anticipated growths in
pension and health care costs that will continue to place significant strains on the finances of the City? What services do
you believe are core to City operations? What services, if any, would you consider reducing? What projects would you
defer? How will you consider the value of a service before deciding to cut it? To right size the size of City government,
would you consider the following: move eliminated staff members to vacant positions, freeze hiring, or target staff
elimination based on value of the service, reduce work hours and/or contract out for services.

Davis              What is your short-term plan to bring the City of Syracuse's budget into structural balance?

                   A multi-year planning and forecast model needs to be put into place. This involves analysis of
                   current department needs, calculating the funding required for future service demands, and
                   identifying inevitable and unavoidable shortfalls. In the short term, we need to match current city
                   revenues with city's expenses by setting a control policy that creates ceilings for spending, and
                   requires each department and city entity to research and devise methods to secure other revenue
                   streams. For example, federal stimulus dollars are available but application for such monies must be
                   made for projects that are "shovel ready" and can be supported through statistical data.

                   How you attract new revenues into the City budget: I believe that small business is the engine that
                   has driven America's economy, and will continue to be the means to building our economy. That is
                   why I propose systematic support of small business through economic specialists within the city's
                   development office that can walk entrepreneurs and small business owners through the process from
                   start to success. Creating an environment of support for small business increases the city's tax base
                   and provides incentives to business to locate within the city. This allows for these business to hire
                   locally, and warrants possible tax incentives to these new businesses for each city resident they hire,
                   or to have a sliding tax scale that brings them up to full assessment over time to allow them to
                   become sustainable.

                   Another possibility for revenue would be to impose a local tax on every worker who draws a city
                   check and resides outside of the city. Other municipalities do this, and it creates an incentive for
                   these workers to move into the city increasing the property tax basis, or is a means to allow city
                   dollars to be circulated within the city.

                   Will you increase taxes: I do not plan to increase taxes in the first year of my administration, and in
                   succeeding years would only entertain increasing taxes if there was no other fiscal way to meet the
                   budget deficit.

                   What role will stimulus dollars pay in balancing the budget: I believe there are several projects (i.e.,
                   that portion of a high speed intra-state rail system) that are "shovel ready" and would bring jobs into
                   the city. Yet, we have to make use of this extraordinary federal funding source to jump start projects
                   that have a realistic chance of producing revenue yearly on its own. I guess what I am saying is that
                   we will make use of the dollars to invest in revenue opportunities that will support themselves after
                   federal funding is over, and can become independent revenue streams for city over time.

                   Do you support cutting costs of City operations: Yes, I believe that there are savings to be had from
                   making tough decisions to streamlining departments. Yet, I would only undertake a streamlining lane
                   after a full review and/or audit of departments, their functions, and effectiveness.

                   How will you address the anticipated growths in pension and health care costs on finances of
                   City: There are several considerations among them is the need to limit the ability of workers to "buy"
                   time in the pension system which creates different tier status, and the burden that must be borne by
                   the city versus the employee sharing in their pension funding. Another is to limit excessive overtime,
                   which produces inflated annual salaries that are often used to determine pension rates. As to

 Many of these questions are posed in the white paper prepared for the International City/County Management
Association by the Alliance for Innovation, ―Navigating the Fiscal Crisis: Tested Strategies for Local Leaders‖. The
paper may be found at http://www.transformgov.org/files/whitepaper/navigating_the_fiscal_crisis.pdf
         healthcare, I would like to explore the possibility of offering a cafeteria plan with options that allows
         a city worker to tailor insurance coverage to his/her needs, and where his/she chooses options above
         the basic plan, then to allow for additional health insurance wage deductions.

         What services do you believe are core to city operations: I believe each department offers "core"
         services, but there are some departments which provide emergency services that must be in place like
         police, fire, sanitation, and snow removal.

         What services, if any, would you consider reducing: I would only consider reducing certain services
         if and only if they are not providing any benefit to the residents of the city.

         What projects would you defer: I do not have a current list of all projects being considered, or having
         been implemented. I believe that we need to set criteria for prioritizing projects. If the project does
         not meet the multi-year budgeting and revenue plan discussed in first question, then its feasibility
         needs to be analyzed. Where projects have been allowed to linger (currently that number is about 100
         Million Dollars worth), I would set up a schedule to get them completed.

         How would you consider the value of a service before deciding to cut it? Audit each department and
         construct meaningful measures of effectiveness, and then determine a course of action from there.

         To right the size of City government: I would consider a host of efforts including attrition of
         positions, encouraging retirement through incentives, creating flex hours, and overall reducing work

Harlow   Regarding a short term plan to bring the budget into balance and continue to generate revenue, we
         must continue to collect fees for existing services, such as licensing fees, permits, parking and
         parking tickets, airport usage, surcharges, sales tax, property taxes, etc.

         New revenues would be collected by retaining city residents, and retaining and recruiting small and
         large businesses. Vacant buildings need to be remodeled to provide affordable housing, and vacant
         lots would be utilized for green space. We need to take advantage of for-profit and not-for-profit
         agencies to assist with remodeling, including accessing our community service programs such as
         Community Court, our various building and trade apprenticeship programs including those offered by
         the Syracuse City School District, as well as programs at Syracuse University, LeMoyne College, and
         Onondaga Community College. The goal is for increased home ownership to lead to, among other
         things, an increase in revenue, including increased water fees and sewer fees, school district taxes,

         In order to retain businesses in the city, let‘s first make sure that we work closely with existing
         businesses if they are given incentives such as hiring agreements, tax breaks, utility breaks, etc. If
         taxpayers‘ money subsidized any agreement, we must make sure that taxpayers‘ money is returned
         back to the appropriate tax base. We need to be sure that businesses follow up with agreements,
         particularly regarding hiring practices, but also that City Hall is supporting area businesses in every
         way possible.

         We need to work with tax-delinquent property owners as well. Instead of shutting the door
         completely on residents, we need to work hand-in-hand with taxpayers to make home ownership
         attainable and affordable. I would eliminate that ‗gotcha‘ policy, and work to find reasonable

         To further generate more revenue, we should take greater advantage of our sports facilities, our parks,
         our recreational facilities, and our cultural attractions, and charge minimal admission fees, in

         ADDITION to free attractions. We have an abundance of green spaces, parks, outdoor stadiums and
         amphitheaters, and natural resources that could be used for sporting events, recreational or cultural
         events, to generate revenue.

         Regarding cutting costs, services, or projects, there are many areas we can and should consider
         cutting and/or consolidating. Reducing hours for salaried employees might be one option. Staffing in
         high level, executive management positions would be carefully evaluated, particularly in light of the
         expense for these pensions and health care costs. I would work closely with middle management and
         with the CSEA and Local 400 unions to find solutions to the high cost of health care before we even
           consider eliminating these middle management and blue-collar jobs. I would need further detailed
           information regarding compensation cases, for instances, as well as other data, to determine the
           specific impact on City finances. My goal would be to get people back to work wherever possible.

           To further save money on pensions and health care costs, I would hire more City-wide and
           department-wide seasonal and part-time employees to do the work of retired, full-time employees.
           However, I would advocate raising the pay from $8/hr. to $10/hr. I would also work with the unions
           and Labor Management to develop a health care plan for these seasonal/part-time employees. I have
           found that people would work even part-time or seasonal, given the opportunity.

           Services absolutely essential to City operations are Public Works, Police, and Fire. I would continue
           to maintain the same level of service to City residents. I would work closely with staff and the
           community to gather as much information as possible regarding programs and services. However, I
           would carefully reconsider the amount of overtime allowed for Police during special events, i.e.
           Dome events, downtown events, etc. I also feel strongly that the Sewer Division and Water
           Department are essential to City operations. Repairing of the sewer and water lines, particularly
           when thawing, is essential. This might be one area where stimulus money would be used wisely.
           Another essential City service is the maintenance and repair of City-owned sidewalks, bike paths,
           pedestrian walkways, retaining walls, and bridges. These projects are essential to the upkeep of the
           City‘s infrastructure.

           Any service my office might consider at all for reduction might be the Transportation Division, other
           than Signage, Traffic Technicians, Traffic Control, i.e. traffic lights. There are several areas in the
           Transportation Division which could be looked at closely for possible reduction and/or consolidation,
           or cross-trained by other City departments (i.e. Sanitation workers during their down time, etc).

           I would hold off on several street repair projects, specifically milling and paving, until ALL
           departments have communicated so that money is not wasted---too often City street repair projects
           are completed only to have them torn up because National Grid, Verizon, or another company or City
           department needed to do work. Communication and coordination is essential to the success of all

           I would consider a service valuable if it‘s a basic constituent service that‘s essential to the quality of
           life, i.e. health and sanitation, recycling, fire and police protection, water and sewer services, and
           street cleaning and maintenance.

           To prevent additional lay-offs, I would consider moving people into vacant positions if qualified and
           eligible. Before I consider eliminating jobs, putting a freeze on hiring, or reducing hours, I would
           look carefully at alternatives before putting people out of work. As I stated above, I would look at the
           value of the service being provided by the position, if the service provided was essential to City
           operations, what level of position in City government, and the strain to City finances.

Jennings   Q: What is your short-term plan to bring the City of Syracuse‘s budget into structural balance?

           A: The continued use of fund balance does not eliminate the deficit and should be avoided. In order to
           prevent the continued use of fund balance, one of two things needs to happen: we must either increase
           revenue, or reduce expenditures. My short-term goal would be to examine every line item of
           expenditures and prioritize those expenditures based on necessity. Unnecessary expenditures would
           be eliminated.

           Q: On the revenue side, how will you attract new revenues into the City budget?

           A: Our first goal would be to increase the use of city assets, such our parks. Additionally, as all
           governments continue to modernize, we could make many of our city assets available on a fee-for-
           service basis. It would be my hope that we can increase revenues by selling some of these services to
           other governments.

           Q: Will you increase taxes?

           A: The times ahead are indeed challenging, but it is my goal not to increase taxes. Instead, I prefer to
           look at ways of saving taxpayers money.

           Q: What role will stimulus funds play in assisting you in balancing the budget?

           A: Stimulus funds will only be invested in capital projects to maximize the returns on these funds.
           They are a valuable resource for repairing and maintaining our infrastructure, but should not be relied
           upon to balance the budget. Investing in projects that have low, long term operating costs can bring
           even greater returns.

           Q: On the expenditure side, do you support cutting costs of City operations?

           A: Of course, if there is an opportunity to reasonably cut costs and still deliver an essential service, I
           will do so.

           Q: How will you address the anticipated growths in pension and health care costs that will continue to
           place significant strains on the finances of the City?

           A: I support the proposals of some of our state representatives regarding a Tier 5 retirement plan. I
           believe that all employees should continue to pay into their retirement plans, much like the private
           sector does.

           Q: What services do you believe are core to City operations?

           A: Police, Fire, the Department of Public Works and education.

           Q: What services, if any, would you consider reducing? What projects would you defer? How will
           you consider the value of a service before deciding to cut it?

           A: I would take a look at non-essential (non core) services to see which ones could be consolidated,
           offered in a less costly manner, reduced or as a last resort - eliminated entirely. Programs and
           services that are redundant would be obvious considerations for cuts. I would inform our residents of
           the need to make cuts, present short-term options and outcomes, and show them how important these
           changes are to the long-term fiscal health of our city.

           Q: To right size the size of City government, would you consider the following: move eliminated staff
           members to vacant positions, freeze hiring, or target staff elimination based on value of the service,
           reduce work hours and/or contract out for services.

           A: All of these tools of management will be considered in balancing the needs of the taxpayers and
           the services required. The city, county and other municipalities are in the business of delivering
           valued services. As we modernize, we will discover opportunities to become more efficient and to
           build revenue, possibly through shared police protection, fire service, public works and other services.

Kimatian   The City budget needs to be balanced using only core projected revenue, without gimmicks, or use of
           one-time-only revenue, or reserves. New revenue will result from the development of properties and
           businesses in the City. Stimulus monies will be used for infrastructure improvements, leveraging of
           funds to produce additional revenue, but not for directly balancing the budget.

           I support cutting costs of City operations provided that the result of such reduction in costs still
           enables the City to provide the same or better services. Pension and health care costs need to be
           aligned with what is competitively offered in the private sector and what can be sustained by
           economic standards of the City. The basis for calculation of pension benefits needs to be managed
           more effectively with respect to eligible employees.

           Though Police, Fire and DPW are a first line core of City operations, a City must still provide the full
           range of services to attract and keep residents. Consideration would be given to reduce the cost of
           services of other departments where a consistent level of service could be maintained.

           A primary consideration of whether a service could be cut would be the value it brings to the citizens,
           both in quantity and quality. Another consideration would be whether the particular service in
           question could be provided in a different or more effective way.

           To right size the size of City government, I would consider moving staff members from positions
           eliminated to vacant positions, a hiring freeze, or targeting staff elimination based on value of the
        service, as well as reducing work hours and/or contracting out for services, provided the necessary
        services are being provided to City residents.
Miner   Given the nature of the fiscal crisis and the city‘s current financial situation, it is clear that making
        sound management and budget decisions in the short-term will be critical to achieving long-term
        solvency while striving to provide higher quality services. Providing high quality public services is
        critical to fostering a robust economy, a high quality of life, and a truly competitive community.
        Local governments that find ways to improve quality of life, create interesting places, and attract
        young people and families despite our considerable global, national and localized financial challenges
        will position their communities well for long-term success. In these tough economic times, we must
        explore all options at our disposal to achieve this success.

        My short-term decision-making will be driven by a fiscal responsibility that will place an emphasis
        o quality core services,
        o encouraging new growth in housing and economic development,
        o innovative arrangements for paying for and providing services,
        o more efficient government operations,
        o and a constant concern for long-term implications.

        Many of these questions are posed in the white paper prepared for the International City/County
        Management Association by the Alliance for Innovation, ―Navigating the Fiscal Crisis: Tested
        Strategies for Local Leaders‖. The paper may be found at

        Core city services that must be effectively and consistently provided include education, public works,
        and public safety functions including plowing, sanitation and infrastructure maintenance. Public
        education must be a top priority. The city budget reflects the importance of the city school district.
        We must also effectively execute the Say Yes to Education program which leverages public private
        partnerships that provide alternative support programming, creative financing abilities, and a high
        profile for the city school district that can transform the schools themselves while bringing new
        families to the city. This kind of programming is not only financially creative it is also potentially
        powerful enough to shift the demographic paradigm by promoting urban population growth. Such
        programming improves the quality of education for our students, but it can also provide long term
        financial sustainability by growing our tax base, which can create a budgetary snowball affect. We
        have already seen Say Yes to Education mentioned on real estate signs here in the City. This
        programming creates growth in the tax base, which in turn grows the city‘s budgetary abilities to
        provide better services.

        Public works is another core service area that needs constant strategic investment. Public works is at
        the heart of any local government‘s service provision and should be a tool used to incite economic
        development. Effective sanitation service, consistent street plowing, and maintenance and
        improvements in the public right of way are basic services that, while rarely noted when done well,
        can be instant disadvantages for communities when done poorly.

        Making our neighborhoods safer must always be a priority for city government. Maintaining a police
        force that is capable of fighting gang violence, drug trafficking, and fostering a better image for the
        City of Syracuse is crucial to our success. I will seek innovative solutions for our crime reduction
        challenges and will strive to improve relations between our police force and our neighborhoods.

        We must also continue to provide world-class fire protection service in our city. Our fire department
        has been continually recognized as one of the best in the nation and we must maintain our ISO Class
        1 rating if we are to entice new residents and businesses to Syracuse.

        All of these individual government services must be done well if we are to be a competitive 21st
        Century city. However, meeting the challenge of providing these services at an all-America level
        while also navigating the fiscal crisis will require greater coordination between these and all services,
        more strategic financing and innovative provision, and the dogged pursuit of consistent, high quality

        Encouraging new growth in housing and economic development will be key to creating fiscal
        solvency on the revenue side of the budget. Since 1950 the population of the City of Syracuse has
        dropped by more than 100,000. Bending the curve of population trends will be critical to fixing the
revenue side of city finances and creating a higher degree of local self-reliance. In the 2008-09 city
fiscal year 56.7% of city revenues came from state aid, while only 14.5% came from the city and
school tax levy. We know the challenges we face in regards to state aid, local real property taxes, and
sales taxes. New York‘s cities received over $693 million in the 2008-09 State fiscal year, which
represented a 68.8% increase in unrestricted state aid since 2004-05. Clearly, reductions in state aid
will put significant fiscal stress on highly dependent municipalities like Syracuse. While certainly a
more long-term goal, taking action immediately to begin growing the local tax base is imperative to
fundamentally changing the city‘s structural budget deficiencies.

Seeking innovative arrangements for paying for and providing services will also be critical to
bringing the city budget into balance. The Say Yes to Education program and the stimulus funds from
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) are two examples of how we can utilize non-
traditional funding sources to achieve our service provision goals. The Say Yes to Education program
will aid in providing much needed educational and support services for our children with funding
from the Say Yes to Education Foundation which derives its funding from various sources including
colleges and universities, corporate sponsorships, and donations – not just city funds. This funding
source diversification will benefit the city‘s youth while providing programmatic and financial
supports to the Syracuse City School District and in turn the city government by offsetting some costs
that may otherwise have fallen under city and school tax levy obligation.

ARRA funding is another source the city must use to relieve the financial burden the city bears over
the next two fiscal years. We must not only deploy ARRA funding according to federal guidance that
mandates relatively quick expenditure of funds and the funding of projects that heavily promote job
creation, we must also employ this funding in ways that create savings in the city budget. The City
has already explored ways ARRA funding can be used to finance capital projects and conduct energy
efficiency projects on City-owned facilities. ARRA funding is a rare opportunity to shift costs away
from the local tax burden and conduct projects and capital investments that can create long-term cost
savings and leverage future revenues for the City. By using ARRA funds most effectively we can
maintain a reasonable level of services including some new programming, make capital investments
that will create long-term savings for the city, and avoid depleting city fund reserves.

Cutting City services and cutting the costs of City services are not the same things. It is important to
realize that we can significantly cut the costs of providing services by creating efficiencies in the
government itself. The fiscal crisis and the city‘s ongoing financial challenges will provide an
opportunity for long-overdue reform in city government. We must seize this opportunity and begin
the task of reshaping this government to meet our financial and service challenges with creativity,
interdepartmental synergy, and effective planning. It is time to take a fresh look at the structure of city
government and have an open conversation about any fundamental inefficiency that exist under the
current arrangement. The restructuring of some departments, offices, and senior staff responsibilities
will likely be necessary.

It would be a mistake for our next Mayor to arbitrarily reduce staff positions or cut services in an ad
hoc fashion for political expediency, or even to definitively opine on the issue before reviewing all
the pertinent facts and circumstances. As Mayor, any staff reductions that take place in my
administration will be based on the necessity and priority of the position and the associated services.
This would be an unfortunate time to retrench by allowing political posturing to lead to unaddressed
attrition in personnel, arbitrary hiring freezes, unnecessary and inefficient privatization of services,
and the shrinking of city staff just for the sake of shrinking. We can not allow lazy management and
political band-aids to define this era for our city government. On the contrary, now is the time to be
strategic in our staffing and service decision-making. Our government needs an injection of more
creative staff that can find innovative ways to provide services in a more coordinated way that creates
operational and programmatic synergy while providing those services at a higher quality and

Providing clarity to the public regarding city priorities is essential and will be a core principle in my
administration. By presenting a rationale for any changes made within the city government we will
create transparency that will aid citizens in understanding what their government is doing and why.
Instituting a comprehensive communications strategy that incorporates new media will be central to
my administration from day one. Through this strategy I will clearly identify what actions we are
taking in the near-term to promote long-term financial sustainability for city government. No short-
term decisions will undermine the long-term viability our city government. All decisions made in my
administration will be in the best interest of the city both in their immediate affects and in their affects
            that may play out beyond my time in office.
Nicoletti   The next mayor taking office will be immediately confronted with an economic crisis that is unique
            with the across-the-board downturn that has affected all levels of government from the federal
            government all the way down to local government, including local school districts. If the prevailing
            opinion is correct, no sector of our country has reached the bottom of the economic cycle. As a result
            we could be facing a deeper, more dramatic recession than anything experienced in the last 50 years.
            In the last several months we are beginning to see the stark realities of how this recession is affecting
            the business and governmental sectors.

            As mayor I expect to enact policy; but equally importantly, I will be the person that must set the tone
            and direction of city government for the next few years. The tone and direction must be different from
            previous years. Simply put, we have ventured into unprecedented and enormously challenging
            financial times which will require a new level of leadership to deal with problems that have been able
            to be put off in the past.

            We can no longer simply accept that we have a structural imbalance that is putting stress on our
            budget and answer that we are using one-time revenues in combination with marginal adjustments on
            the expense side in the hope that a silver bullet cure is just around the corner, and say we are serving
            the people. We can not be complacent with a situation where the demand for service exceeds the
            resource available and we can not just posture and say that we all need to sacrifice and tighten our
            belt without a plan on what we going to do when we have gotten to the last hole on our belt.

            This means our next mayor must convince our community that they not only have full understanding
            of the fiscal problems we face, from the long-standing financial imbalance that has been developing
            in the city for nearly 20 years, to the recent turbulence from the most pressing financial crisis since
            the great depression, and that we have the ability to set Syracuse on the right path to make it a
            desirable place to live. If chosen to lead the city as the next mayor, I would communicate my plans
            for changing the city into a community that can sustain itself in the future for the well being of our
            children and grandchildren. Educating the public about the trade-offs our decision-making will
            require to move the city forward is an important part of the challenge we will face. As mayor, I will
            not shy away from community input nor will I be hesitant to critique our progress for city residents.
            The more everyone is engaged and understands the problems we face and the choices we are
            compelled to make, the better off the community is.

            My approach as Mayor of Syracuse will be two-fold. First, to focus on the immediate issue of
            constructing a balanced City budget for 2010/2011 that can function as a foundation to continue
            working from in addressing the City‘s finances in the long-term. I recognize that there will not be a
            great deal of time to work through issues that may still be developing at that time, as I will be
            required to submit a balanced budget to the Common Council in about three months after taking

            Secondly, recognizing that crisis can create a supportive environment for positive change, we will
            capitalize on the opportunity presented by current events to frame a comprehensive strategy for the
            future of the City. Together we will expand on my long-term plan in responding to the second part of
            your questions on navigating the fiscal crisis.

            When asked about fiscal philosophy, the first question is always about holding taxes down. Property
            taxes have been held constant for the last three years, and the 2009/10 budget approved in May, 2009
            also holds the taxes for city and school purposes level. As mayor, I intend to not increase taxes in
            2010/11 since I believe that raising taxes would be the worst action I could take as the newly elected
            mayor. This position is supported by one school of thinking, that stresses the importance of making
            tax increases the very last option that is considered, an option considered only after fiscal cutbacks are
            integrated into a budget. Instead it is vital that we hold the line on spending, and keep as much
            disposable income as possible in the pocket of the taxpayer.

            Having taken this position, I need to share with the public what it will take to meet the expectation of
            no tax increase. I also need to articulate what it is that I need to accomplish, what it is that I will be
            willing to do, and what it is I won‘t consider in order to meet the challenge to hold the tax rate
            constant for the fifth straight year in a row. The public needs to understand what needs to happen to
            hold the line on taxes, and what will happen if efforts are not successful in growing some of our
            larger revenues.

Let us use the current 2008/09 City budget as a basis of what it is that hold the budget together on the
revenue side and what services get supported on the expenditure side. Nearly 70% of all the revenues
supporting the spending plan come from just four sources. Approximately 31%, or $84.5 million,
comes from State Aid from New York State. The second largest revenue is the City‘s portion of the
sales tax that is distributed between the state, the county, school districts and towns and villages. This
revenue was budgeted at $61.7 million, about 23% of all revenues. Local property taxes for municipal
purposes generate about $26.4 million, and the programmed use of fund balance is $15.9 million, or

Another 19% of total revenues come into the City‘s coffers from the special fund budgets of the
Airport, the Water Department and the Sewer Fund. These revenues are obligated to go to specific
operations they support, as required by either municipal law, or by City Charter. While there are
literally over 100 other revenue accounts in the City‘s budget, they are so limited as to only represent
10 to 11% of the total of all revenues, and obviously any thought to ―tweaking‖ these sources will
produce only marginal impact in 2010/11.

The City is obviously forced to look at the two or three largest revenues noted above as key
components in preserving and growing funding for 2010/11. The two largest revenue sources, state
aid and the sales tax distributed to the City, are derived from decisions made by other governmental
entities. We must adopt the philosophy that the state and the county are our partners in developing a
strategy for bringing the City‘s budget into balance, and they must sit down with us to address the
problems confronting the City and be willing participants for change.

We can expect that the state‘s continued ability to support urban centers will be challenged again in
2010/11 and beyond. Expecting to see further reductions in state aid for cities, immediately after
being elected, I will start meeting with our local state representatives to impress on them the reality
that the city‘s financial well-being is virtually totally dependent on the state‘s fiscal health and the
state‘s commitment to assist cities in distress. I will meet with any and all state officials in Albany as
needed. I will further use my experience to work to organize the big five cities into a viable block to
lobby for reform in state aid, with a particular focus on aid for education.

As Mayor, we will program as much of the stimulus funding made available toward supporting the
operating budget as is legally feasible, given the restrictions placed on these funds. The City has
already applied under the recovery act for grant monies through the Department of Justice to be used
for police vehicles, patrol equipment and other safety-related programs, and for funding under the
fresh waters program. I will advocate for the use of stimulus funds toward the funding of police
salaries, capital improvements, and any other eligible operating costs that can be justified, and argue
as strongly as possible that the stimulus funding must be seen as an alternative funding source to
replace state aid that is at risk.

Additionally, I will commence meetings immediately with Onondaga County representatives to begin
building a dialogue on the next sales tax formula to be negotiated. The current agreement expires on
December 31, 2020 This is a major issue, if not THE major issue, that will either become a blessing
or a burden to City residents, as early as the 2010/11 budget. The way this is handled by the next
mayor, the success achieved in getting the cooperation of county officials, will have substantial carry-
over into the City‘s long-term financial conditions and ultimately make the difference on the City
moving forward toward self-sufficiency. It is imperative that the next mayor has the temperament,
experience and ability to work cooperatively with state and local officials to achieve the best possible

The sales tax formula can no longer be the product of factors that have in the past driven the
distribution, primarily population and taxable value of property within the boundaries of the City. The
City‘s population has been trending downward since the 1950‘s and this migration from the City is no
longer breaking news to anyone in the community. Nor is it news that the City‘s tax exempt
percentage of real property has grown ferociously in recent years and now exceeds 49% of all
assessed value of property in the City. When the City holds the disproportionate share of the
community‘s educational institutions, hospitals, governmental property and tax exempt social service
agency property, looking at taxable property only for the purpose of distributing sales tax is a flawed
perspective. If State law must be amended to accommodate changing the way sales tax is shared by
municipal governments in a county, then I will take up the cause of getting our State legislators to
advocate for the needed changes. I will do whatever it takes in promoting, negotiating, or selling the
absolute necessity of altering the City‘s portion of sales tax dollars to align with our real need for and
reliance on this revenue.

Other revenues, both current and new revenue categories, can be analyzed over time as to how they
might factor into making the City‘s budget better balanced, but their immediate ability to compensate
for our short-term needs is such that they should be left for comment as part of my long-term agenda.

Looking at the expense side of the budget, City budgets have grown at an average rate of 4.6%
annually over the last several years. The recent cost escalators have been wage and salary settlements,
utility and fuel costs, the increases in health insurance benefits and pension obligations funded
locally, although they are set at the State level by the NYS Retirement Systems administrators. In the
short term, budgets can not be allowed to continue to grow at this rate in a period of economic
downturn. So we must look at the areas we can control and recognize what areas are outside our
control if our priority is to hold the line on tax increases.

Public safety (Police and Fire) budgets, including the fringe benefits for those departments, accounts
for nearly 40% of budget expenditures. Another 5.5 % of the budget is dedicated to cover the expense
associated with the City‘s debt service obligations. The special funds of the aviation, water and sewer
divisions account for 18% of all expenses, and are not reliant on property taxes for funding. If public
safety budgets were to be held harmless, there is only a little more than 35 % of the entire budget that
is subject to reduction or deferral in any plan that would be implemented with the intention of holding
taxes down.

My commitment is to not implement budget cuts that would compromise public safety as far as the
presence of the Police and Fire in the neighborhoods and on our streets. I consider providing public
safety to be one of the more significant core missions of City government.

There are other traditional, core services – trash collection and waste recycling, snow plowing, street
maintenance, and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities that are at the heart of City living.
Our task will be to see how we can continue to deliver the core services in the short term period while
developing a frame work for the long term. This means that to some degree, everything other than
public safety is on the table for potential cost containment.

In addition, The City‘s Office of Management and Budget is currently coordinating the issuing of a
request for proposal (RFP) for the City and School District‘s health insurance plan, including the mail
order prescription plan, the dental component, and the eye care coverage that is provided to
employees, retires and family members. The current contract is expiring at the end of the year and
there is a belief that this process can present an opportunity to continue to provide a benefit while also
creating significant and measurable savings for the City and the district. An expert in the field of
health insurance has been retained to assist the City in preparing the RFP to this end. With the annual
cost for health care having grown to be in the range of $90 million for the City and the district, this
type of aggressive fiscal management is needed and the proactive approach used in this instance is the
template for what it is that my administration will do across the board as part of cost containment.

   Question: Long-Term Visioning For Financial Sustainability - To deal with the long term financial challenges
   confronting the City, as Mayor would you authorize a detailed study of the fiscal impact the city faces and link this
   directly to the impact it would have on the provisions of services in the city? The study would make future
   projections on revenue and expenditure estimates take into account future population shifts, fiscal implication of
   those shifts, long-term debt obligations, pension obligations etc. The study would make demographic projections and
   consider the impact of ―baby boomer‖ retirements. Looking at those projections, the study would make
   recommendations for how to secure the long-term financial stability of the City, offering a Vision of Syracuse in
   2020. How would you work with staff members, educate the public, solicit their input, and engage the community
   in problem solving? What specific process would you recommend?
Davis               As I mentioned above, I believe that the fiscal budget needs to be based upon a multi-year plan that
                    realizes the current trends that have affected Syracuse and many upstate urban areas: decrease in city
                    population that has reduced tax bases, flight of city residents to suburban areas with continued
                    demand on city services, shift from manufacturing economy to service based, and the uncertainty in
                    state aid. I believe that we have to review the city‘s balance sheet and be innovative in getting new
                    revenue streams, in vetting existing opportunities for consolidation, and in seeing ourselves as a
                    regional player.

                   I would be committed to setting up a budget analysis that forecasts the current and future needs of the
                   City while weighing the impact of fiscal decision making in prior administrations. As a result of
                   forecasting, we will be able to evaluate current city programs for effectiveness, and where possible
                   make needed reductions and streamline services. Any savings rendered from a fine tooth review of
                   current programs will be split between current operating budget and a portion put into the City‘s
                   reserves as we start to build a cushion for our future.

                   The forecasting analysis process would not be in a vacuum but would involve every layer of city
                   government. It is time that we realize city workers and department heads should have a stake in the
                   future viability of the city. Allowing workers to be a part of the process insures that we take into
                   consideration the ―real‖ costs of departments. Next, this interactive process will allow my
                   administration to gain the benefit of workers‘ experience and get their ideas about efficiency. This
                   means that there will be parity in any reductions across the board.

                   A second step in my forecasting model would be to involve city residents through town meetings,
                   small group discussions, on-line blogs, and any means that would help me understand the core needs
                   of our neighborhoods.

                   Remember the forecasting model is interactive and goes beyond just a study because it is a process
                   that yields day-to-day results that are analyzed in real time. It would force my administration to
                   resourceful, and mindful of our future. It would uncover the tough fiscal choices from a perspective
                   of fairness and parity. It would allow all of us to become stakeholders in our city financial viability.

Harlow             I agree with the necessity of a detailed study, as long as the community and citizens are well
                   represented, as well as members of such organizations as 20/20, Focus Greater Syracuse, SMTC, the
                   Syracuse City School District, Syracuse University, LeMoyne College, Onondaga Community
                   College, neighborhood organizations, clergy, Common Council members, County Legislators from
                   City Districts, and City employees, such as those from the Research Department, Budget & Finance,
                   etc. All stakeholders need to have input and the opportunity to voice their opinion. In addition,
                   valuable data and ideas from previous studies (conducted in the past by various organizations) need to
                   be synthesized with these new ideas to create plans that can be implemented which support the vision
                   and goals of the City.

                   I feel that citizens need to be engaged and involved in the entire process, and informed and educated
                   throughout—however, I feel that engagement and education can take different forms. One way
                   would be to use public venues such as sporting events or other recreational activities where people are
                   gathered naturally, to talk to citizens informally and briefly before the start of the event, without
                   intruding on their time, in a non-threatening situation. Oftentimes people feel intimidated speaking
                   into a microphone or attending a formal meeting or forum. People should feel comfortable talking
                   about what‘s on their minds. An example of a way that citizens participate in the process is the ―Get
                   It‖ Program, which I implemented as a former DPW Commissioner. The ―Get It‖ Program was a
                   joint effort between DPW and the community, to identify public works‘ needs via checklists, for
           immediate response. These checklists were available at designated locations throughout the City, and
           retrieved by ―Get It‖ crew members (i.e. part-time, seasonal summer employees in partnership with
           full-time employees). This was an effective means for citizens to participate and have ownership of
           an essential service. This practice could be implemented in other City departments.

           To work successfully with staff, it‘s imperative to first develop and agree upon a vision and both
           short-term and long-term goals for the City. This vision of the City must be supported by most, if not
           all, members of city government and the community, and this vision must be clearly and consistently
           articulated. The process of developing a vision and mission statement encourages ownership by all
           stakeholders, and then I would focus on communication, collaboration, and shared decision-making.

Jennings   The development and implementation of a long term fiscal master plan is essential for dealing with
           the challenges presented in this economy and for achieving financial sustainability. Without it, we are
           even more vulnerable to fiscal crises. I will call upon all stakeholders – city leaders, staff, community
           groups, organizations and county leaders for their input in this study, which would ultimately provide
           short term and long term strategies. I would also use current mechanisms, such as TNT and local
           neighborhood associations to conduct smaller meetings. This would allow for serious dialogue and
           give everyone a chance to provide insight and ideas, as well as take ownership of resolving and rising
           above our fiscal challenges.

Kimatian   To deal with the long-term financial challenges confronting the City, I agree with 20/20 that it would
           be prudent to authorize a detailed study of the fiscal impact the city faces and link this directly to the
           impact it would have on the providing of services in the City. I agree with 20/20 that a study to deal
           with financial challenges would make future projections on revenue and expenditure estimates, taking
           into account future population shifts, fiscal implications of those shifts, long-term debt obligations
           and pension obligations. The study would make demographic projections and consider the impact of
           ―baby boomer‖ retirements. Looking at those projections, the study would make recommendations
           how to secure the long-term financial stability of the City, offering a Vision of Syracuse in the future.
           It should be funded by corporations and organizations having a vested interest in the City.

           To address long-term financial challenges, I would work with staff members and educate the public,
           solicit their input, and engage the community in problem solving by gathering the input and opinions
           of citizens and engaging them in the solution in several ways.

           1. First, the problem would be clearly stated. This would entail presenting all the known facts about
           the issue.

           2. Any analysis or opinions on the issue or studies done by the City or outside agencies would be
           made available.

           3. The above information would be posted on the City Website specifically dedicated to presenting
           and solving these issues in conjunction with citizen input.

           4. A series of Town meetings would take place where the Mayor and appropriate department heads
           and City personnel would be present to discuss and present. Such meetings would be held in different
           quadrants of the City, depending upon whether the issue was City-wide or locally contained.
           5. There would be a period of time allowing for public response.
           6. The responses would be made available on the Website and at City Hall for interested parties. Any
           comments would be solicited.
           7. The decision with respect to the solution of the problem would be made.
Miner      While careful examination and long-term planning are certainly in order, a time and resource
           consuming study may not be a necessary step to achieving our financial and programmatic goals. By
           heeding the advice of studies and reports the New York State Comptroller‘s office, local non-partisan
           coalitions like Syracuse 20/20, and by marshaling the collective expertise of existing and incoming
           city staff I believe we can achieve more sustainable budgetary positions going forward. The potential
           study that you mention would yield benefits like future views of debt and pension obligations,
           projections of future revenues, expenditures, and demographic shifts, and the associated implications
           of each. We are capable of generating and analyzing such projections now, and we must do so, rather
           than prematurely committing to a study that may not have the political will behind to ensure proper
           implementation. We do not need more studies that sit on shelves gathering dust.

            In addition to audits and other financial reporting resources, the New York State Comptroller‘s
            Division of Local Government and School Accountability provides a Local Government Financial
            Toolbox that contains myriad ―how-to‖ guides and recommendations pertaining to issues from
            infrastructure costs to energy efficiency to capital planning and cash management. These are the kinds
            of resources that our city staff must make a focused effort to pull from in concert with local and in-
            house expertise in strategic financial planning.

            One tool to achieving such planning and analysis is the Syrastat program. While the existing program
            presents much needed data on past and current operational inputs and outputs, the program must be
            utilized to set benchmarks and generate forecasting that will help provide the information needed to
            make strategic long-term decisions. How can we truly achieve greater efficiency if we do not set
            goals, forecast influential future indicators, and provide the appropriate measures for success?

            Concurrently, the Syrastat program must be used in a transparent way that communicates to the
            public what their government is doing and planning for in the long-term. We must find ways to make
            our city operations more understandable to the citizenry. By using online media to convey our vision
            for the community, our strategies for pursuing that vision, the measures that we will use gauge
            success, and what our progress is we can provide a greater level of transparency. This transparency
            will foster greater trust from members of the community and in turn with generate a greater level of
            community buy-in and community engagement.

            Soliciting community input and leveraging existing local human capital is crucial not only to achieve
            a greater level of community ownership and empowerment, but also in fomenting more effective
            problem-solving while doing so at a minimal cost to the tax payer. My citizen engagement strategy
            has four main pillars: a comprehensive online platform, a revamped TNT program, citizen cabinets
            that focus on key policy areas, and community development staff that are focused on volunteerism
            and community engagement. In order for us to achieve long-term sustainability we ultimately must
            do the work of making Syracuse more attractive for people of all ages. We must work to create
            interesting places, leverage our rich educational and cultural resources, highlight our historic and
            architectural heritage, improve our housing stock, invest in our children and schools, and grow a more
            robust, better-trained workforce.

            With comprehensive strategies and strong partnerships we can take the steps we need to grow our tax
            base and create a fundamentally more sustainable fiscal situation for our city.
Nicoletti   I suspect that the tenor of many of my observations about the limited options available in the short
            term to address our fiscal challenges suggests that I have restated the problems and not really tried to
            supply any answers. There are answers I can provide and a vision I have for the financial future of the
            City, however the majority of these answers really come under the heading of having a long term
            perspective for attaining financial sustainability. As a point of reference as to how uncertain the
            problems are for the short term, I would point out Onondaga County‘s recent disclosure about the
            possibility of laying off workers, cutting programs, and looking at every county program that isn‘t
            essential to providing food or shelter or preserve health or public safety as vulnerable to budgets cuts.
            Trying to decide how to go about making dramatic cuts and impose layoffs half way through the year
            is not a place that any elected official wants to be.

            The first point I want to make in laying out my long term approach for attaining fiscal sustainability is
            that I believe several preconceptions about how we plan for the future of the City have to be made
            right at the start of planning for the future. My first belief is that every resident of the City has a
            vested interest in our financial wellness. Not just property owners who pay taxes. We all pay taxes
            that go toward federal, state and local services and programs, whether we own or rent, whether we are
            a young adult, middle aged or are a baby boomer heading toward retirement. We all need to be given
            an opportunity to contribute ideas and perspectives. I believe some of our most helpful ideas and
            thoughtful initiatives will come to the surface with the input we get from the public. In making
            financial decisions for the long term, everyone should have a voice in the process that frames the
            City‘s priorities, determines what we buy with local dollars and selects the services that are
            consolidated into government at some different level, reduced or eliminated altogether.

            My second belief is that it is more likely than not that Syracuse is not going to return to being a City
            of 180,000 ,or 160,000 residents again in the near future. I think it is more realistic to anticipate that
            the City‘s future for the foreseeable future is that of a City with a population in the range of 120,000
            or 130,000, and that what City leaders should do is build a strategy around this assumption until there
            is solid data that the City IS growing again. On May 31, 2009, the Post Standard reported that 1 in 5
homes is vacant in 3 census tracts on the south side of the city. On the north side, we have
neighborhoods where vacant structures account for over 16% of the housing stock. These problems
tend to escalate since vacant homes attract problems and home values decline.

Doesn‘t it make more sense to recognize that we are trying to budget wisely for a smaller city with a
smaller population, fewer housing units, and a smaller residential tax base, and provide a better
quality of life for that smaller population with improved service delivery and an enhanced sense of
public safety than trying to maintain an unsustainable level of City government that is a burden on the
taxpayers who have stayed loyal to the City?

I know this is a tough place to start from. Like everyone else, I would like to see the effort being
made to return Syracuse back to the mid-sized city it was twenty years ago be successful. I share the
enthusiasm of many of the younger people who are working to connect, engage and empower young
adults in central New York, many of whom have shown real interest in living and working in the
City. I believe the efforts of these city pioneers will be at the heart of the rebirth that we all envision
sometime in the future. It is just not the City the next mayor will inherit now; but I am optimistic
that we can achieve that goal by facing the challenges in front of us.

With these biases in mind, I will start my tenure as Mayor with the initiation of a master study on how
the City need to go about reinventing itself for the purpose of financial sustainability. At the start of
this undertaking, a grid of all the information that is needed to make intelligent decisions will be
designed. How can we possibly make good decisions for the City if we don‘t have all the information
on where we stand, who we are, and what want for the future? The framework for the study needs to
be given a large amount of attention to make sure that all the factors that need to be analyzed are
included. Some of these details are mentioned in the outline provided for these questions.

We need to take into account the population shifts occurring within various neighborhoods and the
shifts that have been depleting our City with the migration out, and the fiscal implication of those
shifts. One of the major national problems many other parts of the country have already had to deal
with and that Syracuse has been relatively insulated from is the foreclosure crisis. This has been an
enormous problem in states that have had the highest foreclosure rates, and, according to the experts,
we‘ve experienced two waves of foreclosure – the sub-prime mortgages, and mortgages on high-end
properties. The third wave that has been predicted will likely follow historical patterns and hit those
who live paycheck to paycheck.

As previously stated, we are still just beginning to get an understanding on the full impact of the
financial downturn as it impacts central New York, but as these adversities develop, we need to
identify them and determine how to integrate them into our framework of factors.

We need to factor in the changes occurring in neighborhoods where the number of residents may have
dramatically gone down, the number of vacant structures increased, all in a geographic area that is
unchanged in size whether it encompasses four hundred neighbors or the twelve hundred people that
resided in the same neighborhood fifteen years ago. We need demographic information, information
on economic behavior, and the community‘s social and political attitudes. Factored in with this other
information, we must include valid school district enrollment informant information as the school
district is a primary element in this evaluation process.

We need to figure out how to include in our process grid the concerns and ideas that get voiced
regularly at neighborhood meetings from groups like Neighborhood Watch and TNT, and how to
factor in the knowledge and experience of our public work force. These folks see what is happening
in our neighborhoods every day, they see how the City delivers services and frequently have a very
good overview on what is working and what is broken.

An example of this type of participation by our City staff might be including Economic Development
staff in the discussions on how to reduce the number of vacant structures in certain target areas that
have high concentrations of boarded up, vacant housing stock, that realistically is unlikely to needed
in the near future. Do we take steps to demolish these buildings thinking that is the best way to
maximize the use of City, state and federal dollars, or do we explore the alternative method of
deconstruction as a community development tool? (Deconstruction in inner cities has been recognized
and promoted as a building block for revitalizing local economy and a labor market for skilled
workers.) To not include the input of our employees is to sell us all short.

We need to determine how we are going to factor in the input we will solicit from Zoning and from
the City‘s Landmark Preservation Board, from the business community, from landlords and from
tenants. Many of these stakeholders come into contact with community problems and conflicts, and
have ideas to offer on how to solve or how to smooth out the long standing issues that seem to keep
stopping us from going forward.

This is a partial list of the participants that need to be included in a long term planning process.
Others that I will be looking to include my financial team made up from staff members within City
government. They will be providing preliminary estimates of revenues and expenditures for future
periods, provide information on the City‘s long term debt service obligations, pension obligations,
other post-employment benefits, union contract obligations, etc.

Once we have our information in hand, we will need to determine how we are going to make it all fit
into our grid, how we are using what we have collected in a coherent manner, and how we are going
to establish priorities in away that will deliver long term stability. Determining how we are going to
weight the various aspects of our grid needs to be done in advance. This will be a whole process unto
itself, but it really is a critical part of the exercise and again, this will require broad inclusion of many
of the participants if it is going to have value and work. This process will replace the way decisions
have been made in a scattered, shotgun approaches that are generally responses to singular objectives
and are not part of a more comprehensive planning process. We‘ve seen this all too often in the way
economic development has taken shape.

As all of the above mentioned participants are engaged, there needs to be the constant questioning and
re-questioning of ideas brought forward from the point of view, ―How do these dynamics, how does
an interest group‘s needs, how do the regulating of certain functions such as zoning, fit into the core
missions of City government?‖ I am a believer that the process we need to go through is a continuous
refining of the matching our resources against our perception of what constitutes the delivery of core

With in information we have collected in hand, we can start projecting our revenues based on the best
projections of what we can realistically count on receiving. This should be done for a 6 to 8 year
period, with the emphasis on the closest several years, where we will obviously have the best data.

Right sizing government begins here, and it must move to right size city government toward the
reduced population of the city. How do we go about going about delivering our newly designed core
services within our ability to pay for them? How do we start making cutbacks in a way that allows us
to get through difficult times and builds a foundation for our future?

As we ponder the contraction that we must face we know some services will need to be reduced, and
most likely some staffing reductions will be necessary. I believe in the strategy of target layoffs as
the most beneficial approach. The method of making cuts must be made in a rational, understandable
plan. The importance of working towards consensus can not be overstated.

As I have stated frequently I personally am a strong believer of public safety in our neighborhoods.
We can not expect to expect people to remain in their neighborhoods if they do not feel safe and
secure. Beyond this, all other services will be evaluated basis on the rating methodology coming out
of our master planning grid. Again consensus must be obtained on how we will move forward.

A residual outcome of the process may be to point us in the direction of looking at creative options
such as offering of early retirement incentives, voluntary furloughs, or voluntary reduced work weeds
by employees. My personal suspicion is that the early retirement incentive rarely helps out financially
either in the short of long term, but clearly an objective analysis would have to accompany any
serious review of offering early retirement incentives.

I would not implement across the board reductions – proven research shows that across the board cuts
do not recognize the difference of less important activities compared to core services, or the impact of
proportional cuts on departments and programs of different sizes.

Again I want to stress how important it will be for the next Mayor to have been successful in
partnering with County and State officials and sharing the product of our planning process. What we
share will include our projections on how we are responding to our fiscal limitations and the services
we are cutting, the projects we are deferring. It is important for our partners to be aware the sacrifices
we are seriously contemplating making and to share with them the need to have their long term
commitment on aiding the city.

One of the primary objectives, in addition to expanding the level of state and county financial
support, is to have a long term commitment from these partners of their support. This will provide a
baseline to work forward from and allow us to start looking at the other traditional revenue sources to
determine how they may be increased. As we get a better picture of our resources and they increase,
we have the ability to redefine our core services.

All of these short term and long term discussions will help us make Syracuse a more competitive and
attractive city.

Creating and Sustaining a Quality Community:
Question: Creating and Sustaining A Quality Community - As Mayor, what is your vision for Syracuse being a
quality community? What role do you see the Mayor and the City having in ensuring a Quality Community for the entire
region to enjoy? What are the specific steps you will take as Mayor to improve the quality of life in the City of Syracuse
and how do you see that impacting the region? Recognizing that a strong City helps the region, what can you do to attract
and retain jobs in the City? What can you do to promote living in the City of Syracuse? As Mayor, how would you
build the coalitions necessary to advance the needs of the City in the context of the region? What role do you envision
playing with the County Executive to advance the City in the context of the larger discussions taking place in the
County? What measures should we as a community use to assess your ability to improve the quality of life in the City?

Davis              My comprehensive economic plan for true change in Syracuse includes systemic support for small
                   businesses from start to success; revitalization for existing industry; and an aggressive marketing
                   strategy to secure new business and encourage existing companies to expand in our area. Small
                   business is the engine that made America the great country that is, and helped establish Syracuse as a
                   thriving economic area many decades ago. Once again, we must encourage the entrepreneurial
                   spirit. We must insure that those who would create small business have the tools they needed to be

                   As Mayor, I would institute a new agenda for our community development office. There will be
                   economic development specialists who walk new entrepreneurs through the steps to get their ideas off
                   the ground and remain available for consultation through stability. For example, we can offer tax
                   incentives that allow new businesses to get off the ground and be taxed on a graduated scale for a
                   short term. This creates a win-win situation such that the city gains a new business that will be able
                   to hire locally while increasing our tax base.

                   I have seen Syracuse diminish as a city and fail to tap its unrealized potential. As a grassroots activist
                   for nearly 24 years, an educator in the school district, and political consultant, I have a new vision for
                   the challenges that face us, and a new perspective on how to solve them.

                   My comprehensive plan addresses major issues that challenge us, and I possess the necessary
                   leadership skills to collaborate with our Common Council, the School District Superintendent, and the
                   County Executive. True change requires challenging the status quo, thinking outside of the box, and
                   working collaboratively to find innovative ways: to improve our economic base, our educational
                   institutions, public safety and quality of life.

                   Where the City and County can share services, then I would be open to consolidation. We must be a
                   City that recognizes our regional potential and collaborate with the County as an equal
                   partner. Syracuse is the heart of this area, and where the heart is strong, the region will be strong.

                   This is a transformative time in the City‘s history. We can continue with the politics of division or
                   decide that this election we will embark on a new direction. As your Mayor, I will be the ambassador
                   this City needs to attract new business, encourage our young people to stay or return after college, and
                   to help Syracuse become a well-known destination for its diversity, economic stability, culture, arts,
                   and wonderful natural resources. Together we can bring true citizen power and change to Syracuse.

Harlow             My vision of the City of Syracuse is what people should perceive the minute they enter the City—
                   their first impression. This consists of neighborhoods, homes, buildings, and streets that are well-
                   maintained and cared for, where citizens have access to cultural, recreational, business, and
                   employment opportunities, and where people feel connected to one another and to the City, and where
                   they feel a sense of personal safety and security. Downtown historic architecture should be preserved
                   and add to the beauty of the City. Communities should be connected by efficient transportation
                   systems, to enable them to engage in work and recreational/social activities, and take advantage of
                   everything the City has to offer. Businesses and individuals should be encouraged to participate in
                   the revitalization of urban centers, and schools should once again regain the prominence in the
                   community by offering activities and needed services to families beyond the school day. Residents
                   need access to services, especially, such as educational institutions, libraries, workplaces, stores,
                   health centers, community centers, daycares, and parks, with an abundance of sidewalks, bike paths,
                   street lighting, signage, visitor/informational kiosks, etc. Lastly, we need to have an awareness and
                   appreciation of our unique history, natural resources, and assets, but as a community, we must engage
                   in purposeful planning with a clear sense of purpose.
           The responsibility of the Mayor is to promote the City and all it has to offer—not just its value to our
           own citizens but also in the greater context of the entire region of Central New York and Upstate New

           Building a quality community takes great effort on the part of all members of the community.
           Therefore, all visioning, short-term and long-term planning, and decision-making would be the result
           of input and ideas from all stakeholders and a process whereby everyone has a voice.
           Retaining and recruiting jobs in the City—we must take advantage of incentive programs and ensure
           that businesses are utilizing them properly. We must also consider expanding our efforts outside of
           our own region and state to recruit. We must be able to offer opportunities, incentives, and services
           in Syracuse that these businesses need, and we need to keep an open dialogue with businesses to stay
           abreast of concerns, issues, and needs (similar to Town Hall meetings). In collaboration with MDA,
           MACNY, Chamber of Commerce, SBA, SU School of Management, Minority Business Association,
           local incubator centers, Downtown Committee, UpDowntowners, to name a few, City leaders and the
           office of Mayor would work together to provide a foundation for economic growth and development.

           The Mayor is instrumental in promoting the benefits of living in the City of Syracuse, and conveys
           the message of quality communities, opportunities, and vibrant, safe neighborhoods every day in
           many ways. Through collaborations and partnerships among businesses, schools, and organizations,
           the Mayor can help create housing, employment, and educational opportunities and incentives that
           make living in the City affordable and practical, and by supporting the arts and cultural events, make
           the City attractive and enjoyable. By ensuring that essential services are provided and that the health
           and safety of citizens are a priority, people will take pride and comfort in their neighborhoods.

           Collaboration and communication with the County Executive is imperative—City residents are, after
           all, County residents as well. This partnership must consist of regular, on-going conversation about
           promotion of the region, sharing and use of basic services, taxes, health and social concerns,
           education and library system, protection and use of environmental/ natural resources (i.e., farms,
           waterways, etc.), and economic planning and development that benefits the entire region.

           My own experiences living and working in the City of Syracuse attest to the fact that I‘ve always
           worked to improve the quality of life. As Mayor, my office would continue to further that goal and
           vision of attaining the highest level possible in the City of Syracuse. Further, the office of Mayor
           would have an open-door policy in order to welcome feedback, ideas, concerns, and suggestions,
           regarding my performance in meeting these goals.
Jennings   A: My vision for Syracuse being a quality community begins with the acknowledgement of the
           rich quality of life that we continue to enjoy. There are many reasons why our city is rated among
           the top 10% of ―Best Places to Live.‖ Syracuse is also a great place to work, learn, raise a family,
           grow a business and is well-positioned to prosper in the years to come.

           Our quality of life is being challenged as never before - in the face the worst recession in decades. In
           order to tap into our entrepreneurial spirit and prepare to make advances for the long term, we must
           first acknowledge our advantages as a city. And that acknowledgement must be accompanied by a
           shared commitment to fix the basics, build on our assets, create quality neighborhoods and balance
           growth. These objectives can only be achieved when all stakeholders work together: residents, city,
           county and regional government leaders and employees; business owners, educators - everyone who
           has a vested interested in the success of Syracuse and Central New York.

           Our city has a wealth of affordable, available housing for individuals and families of every economic
           background - in attractive, historic neighborhoods. We need to remove the barriers that stand in the
           way of residents who want home ownership. We must find practical financial solutions that close the
           widening gap between available properties and potential buyers.

           And while downtown continues to build on the vibrant urban/metropolitan lifestyle offered by
           Armory Square, the city needs to take the next step. Immediate improvements include providing more
           lighting, parking and police presence to accommodate college students, families, seniors and others
           who want to dine, drink and shop or visit the MOST. We also need to preserve the unique flavor of
           our neighborhoods (such as Tipp Hill, Westcott and Eastwood) and increase accessibility to these
           areas. I want the Connective Corridor to be completed as soon as possible - making it safer, faster and
           more enjoyable for college students to sample our city and its cultural and artistic offerings and
           perhaps be influenced to make Syracuse their home.
As our city schools continue to make strides with improved test scores, I want to step up the effort to
increase high school graduation rates and to personally share responsibility for this. I want to increase
the number of college graduates by providing dedicated funding for Say Yes to Education. I will also
develop school-to-work programs to train students who don‘t wish to attend college for growing
opportunities in non-professional sectors.


Q2. What role do you see the Mayor and the City having in ensuring a Quality Community for
the entire region to enjoy?

A: Leading an inclusive effort to improve our community, by maximizing our resources and
shared talents and unlimited potential to build on our assets, solve our problems and create a
better quality of life in our city. The mayor, Common Councilors and city departments must
approach this effort as a team. Next, we must form an alliance with county and neighboring
municipalities, universities, civic organizations and other stakeholders. Thirdly - citizens must have
valid input in the planning processes, and be kept informed of decisions, action taken, progress made
and the implementation of solutions on a continual basis. A collaborative effort is the only way to
achieve these goals.

By maintaining, repairing, and expanding our city‘s infrastructure, we make it possible to enrich our
quality of life – residentially, commercially and economically. Capital investments build the
framework for prosperity. Let‘s determine the benefits and feasibility of proposed solutions for
downtown, the Lakefront, Erie Boulevard, the Connective Corridor and our neighborhoods; as well as
modifications to Interstate 81. Let‘s make sure these proposals have merit and then let‘s make them
happen. Let‘s transform Syracuse into a viable, more attractive venue for residents and an even more
desirable destination for visitors who stop – either on route to or returning from lakes, nature centers
and other attractions.

As former Syracuse Parks and Recreation Commissioner, I believe the livability of our urban areas
and certain neighborhoods can be improved with increased residential density. Higher density
neighborhoods enhance the their appeal, which can in turn boost revenue for maintaining parks and
recreational centers. Mixed-use development and mixed-income housing can provide an affordable
quality of life that reflects and supports the diversity of our community. Our beautiful city parks and
gardens, our cultural, artistic and entertainment offerings, as well as sports and seasonal activities
and events should be actively promoted as part and parcel of our regional offering – highlighted by
the fact that we are just an hour away from many other popular destinations and attractions.

My Quality Neighborhood plan seeks to maximize the value and accessibility of our parks, libraries
and community centers – using models such as Tomorrow‘s Neighborhoods Today, Mayor Matt
Driscoll‘s 2025 master plan, and input from a wealth of pro-Syracuse initiatives, organizations and

Q3: What are the specific steps you will take as Mayor to improve the quality of life in the City
of Syracuse and how do you see that impacting the region?

A: I will bring a new attitude of cooperation and partnership to City Syracuse City Hall, and
demonstrate that attitude by meeting with any organization, any group – whether in the city or outside
– that has an idea of how best to move us forward.

I am dedicated to advancing our school system. Math scores are rising, but school buildings are
crumbling. And it‘s imperative that we become more efficient in the use of resources. The
commitment of our school administrators and our community to creating a top-notch school system is
undeniable. Say Yes to Education and the "From Here to Anywhere‖ campaign, both demonstrate the
kind of vibrant, forward-thinking that will help us achieve this goal. As mayor – I want to give our
families community schools, providing access to students, their families and the community from
morning until night. This is more than an efficient use of facilities. Community schools offer residents
and educators opportunities to work together to create ―a citywide, neighborhood-focused integrated
youth service delivery system.‖ I also believe that renovation projects such as Blodgett School can be
accomplished with an alliance – a public-private partnership.

I want to improve access to affordable, quality housing. Syracuse is one of the lowest-priced
housing markets in the state and the country. But our supply of highly affordable housing exceeds
current demand. I want to promote our existing resources, such as Home Headquarters – to help
homeowners and buyers realize their dream of owning a home. Our city is also plagued with
abandoned, deteriorating properties. As mayor I will join forces with the county, HUD, the real estate
industry, and other municipalities to resolve these housing challenges and create a sense of
‗community ownership.‘ I will also propose a plan that offers ownership opportunities to apartment
dwellers on the city‘s south, north and west sides. By providing incentives to purchase, renovate and
occupy flats and units that are typically rented, we can reduce urban blight as well as crime, while
eliminating the impact of absentee and negligent landlords

Establishing Syracuse as a city that offers quality education and affordable housing can be achieved
by the promotion of these benefits by employers, colleges and universities, real estate agents and
grassroots efforts such as Come Home to Syracuse.


Q4: Recognizing that a strong City helps the region, what can you do to attract and retain jobs
in the City?

A: Promote the continued growth of viable employment opportunities. In spite of an 8 percent
unemployment rate, the Syracuse remains strong. We‘ve been affected, but not devastated by the
national recession – and a closer look at our latest employment figures proves this. While we continue
to lose manufacturing jobs, we‘re also continuing to produce employment booms - in specialty trade
construction, health services, education, leisure and hospitality.

Right now – Syracuse businesses and their employees, and those in search of employment are
benefiting from several, multi-million dollar state and federally-funded programs. These programs
provide Layoff Aversion services, training grants to upgrade workers‘ skills, and tax incentives for
hiring heads of needy families, as well as veterans and ex-felons for fulltime jobs and youth for
summer employment. I believe the city, county and our regional governments should support these
efforts with all available, as well as pooled resources.

A: Strengthen partnerships and alliances to take more ground in green technology.

As ―The Emerald City,‖ Syracuse continues to lead the way in environmental and energy
technologies and sustainability in New York State. As mayor, I intend not only to strengthen existing
partnerships, but to also seek alliances and more ways to grow our collaboration with Syracuse
University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the Syracuse Center of
Excellence, the Green Building Council and Tech Garden. I also want to work with upstate interests
on a collaborative effort to promote our entire region as the as the ―Green Capital‖ of the Empire
State. Ultimately, I want to generate new sources of green revenue, to create a viable green
workforce, and to ultimately position Syracuse and the region to prosper in the global economy.

Continue to take advantage of the available brain trust and wealth of resources. Many of which
I‘ve already mentioned. That includes exploring more opportunities to collaborate with New York‘s
Creative Core - working with university professors to solve technical problems we encounter.
Working together with leaders and representatives of county, regional, state and federal governments
is essential to the success of our city, county, state and nation.

As mayor, my goal is to join forces with the county and regional governments to identify and develop
greater resources to help employers – green and traditional – to survive and succeed, and to expand
opportunities for those who need jobs.


Q5: What can you do to promote living in the City of Syracuse?

A: Promote our exceptional quality of life. Syracuse is a family-friendly community. I want to help
more families discover all that this means by promoting all that the city offers them and help them
benefit from our many advantages.

           Our diverse population, culture and changing seasons offer year round opportunities for celebrating
           our unique assets. Our wealth of annual events and entertainment venues are numerous: including
           Winterfest, Jazzfest, Bluesfest; excellent skiing; a world-class symphony orchestra. Chief‘s baseball;
           Syracuse Crunch, SU sports; The Rosamond Gifford Zoo; the Everson Museum, the Great New York
           State Fair – just a few examples of the many outstanding offerings that prove that there is always
           something to do in Syracuse and which make our city a great destination and place to call home. We
           must consistently promote these attractions with the goal of expanding our tourism program and
           increasing revenues by 50 percent by 2011.

           The latest U.S. Census figures indicate that we lost more 630 people during the 12-month period that
           ended in July, 2008. By shifting our focus from the negative to taking pride in all that we offer as a
           city, our residents can become ambassadors. What better way to attract potential new residents than
           by inspiring Syracusans who understand and appreciate the many benefits of living here.

           As mayor, I want to coordinate ongoing efforts and initiatives that are striving to promote these
           benefits in an effort to grow our population base. I would continue to call on our excellent resources -
           including SU, SUNY, OCC, New York Creative Core, The Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, as well
           s such grassroots efforts as Come Home to Syracuse, to identify incentives and create ideas for
           attracting new and former residents; and to develop and lead a promotional campaign that reveals the
           amazing people, resources, opportunities and may-faceted advantages of living in Syracuse.


           Q6: As Mayor, how would you build the coalitions necessary to advance the needs of the City in
           the context of the region?

           A. I will bring a new attitude of cooperation and partnership to City Syracuse City Hall, and
           demonstrate that, by meeting with any organization, any group – whether in the city or outside of the
           city – that has an idea of how best to move us forward.

           Q6: What role do you envision playing with the County Executive to advance the City in the
           context of the larger discussions taking place in the County?

           A: The role I envision is one of collaboration and cooperation with the county and to advance our
           mutual interests, which ultimately benefits the region. You can‘t have a stronger region without a
           stronger city.

           Q7: What measures should we as a community use to assess your ability to improve the quality
           of life in the City?

           A: Are we controlling spending? Are we getting the best from the services and resources the city is
           providing? Are we graduating students from high school? I believe it‘s imperative for the mayor to
           share responsibility for high school graduation rates. I have adopted a program that will help youth
           obtain job skills – youth who do not want to attend college. This will be a school-to-work program
           that offers individual instruction and skills that prepare them for job opportunities that continue to
           grow including specialty construction, healthcare, leisure and hospitality.

Kimatian   As Mayor, I envision residences teeming with people making their homes in the city on Warren and
           Montgomery and along Salina. I see grocery stores and shops to serve the new residents. I see the
           near west side flourishing, with additional businesses joining O‘Brien & Gere and King & King.
           When I look to Onondaga Lake and the inner harbor, I see a marina set off with brick paved
           walkways and restaurants and shops and hundreds of people pending the evening there. I see
           continued growth and connection between the City and the great universities like Syracuse and Le
           Moyne. I see a city where the young people will graduate and decide to stay, work and raise a family.
           I see a city where a newcomer driving into the City would see a sparkling cityscape and say, wow,
           Syracuse is really alive. I see a city where county residents come in for dinner and the theatre or an art
           opening on a regular basis and our memberships lists to these worldclass cultural organizations is
           brimming with city and county residents alike.

           A quality community is a place that meets the fundamental needs of its citizens while preserving its
natural resources and maintaining flexibility for sustainable growth. For individuals, this means a
place where a person can find a reliable solid paying job and live in affordable housing in a
neighborhood that is clean and attractive with the opportunity to raise children who can attend highly
rated public schools. For businesses, this means developing a core economic foundation that is able to
withstand economic downturns while thriving during economic upturns.

Building this community requires a clear understanding of the overall vision and responsible
investment into the key areas that will bring this vision to life. Syracuse has the potential to be this
quality community. The City is the heart of the region. Unless it is thriving, the rest of the region
fails. A Mayor needs to create a hospitable environment that offers attractive events, opportunities
and services that enhance the quality of life and is inviting to those in the region to visit and
participate in the life of the City.

A healthy urban core is essential to the continued viability of the Upstate region. I see the Mayor
meeting regularly with the County executive, the mayors and superviors of the outlying towns and
villages, and the heads of the major educational organizations such as SU and Upstate to discuss how
to transform the city so that the County residents are accessing the City for cultural, art events,
restaurants and retail and that newcomers to the City consider the City as a viable option in which to
live. The City has a symphony, opera and world class art museum that, if supported by the City in the
right way, can enhance the heart of the urban center and pump life into the entire region.

To improve the quality of life in the City, I would address quality of life issues from the most
mundane, every day issues such as the pattern of street lighting to the most essential of issues such as
our graduation rate. Of paramount importance would be the following:
   Maintain the integrity and appearance of the neighborhoods.
   Insure safety of the citizens with a ―zero tolerance‖ of crime.
   Sustain and encourage development of entertainment venues.
   Provide all children the opportunity to attend high quality public schools.
   Preserve natural resources and historic sites.
   Encourage business development and recruitment of local talent from high school through graduate
   Foster the growth and continuance of cultural organizations.
   Provide for safe and attractive streets and walks.
   Make parks accessible and available to all citizens.
   Provide for easy access to the City with sufficient convenient parking and clear signage for

A vibrant City enhances the value of the whole region.

To accomplish all of these tasks as a Mayor I would work closely with the County Executive. It is
important for the Mayor to not only market the benefits of a prosperous City to the County, but insure
that the special and distinctive needs of the City are protected in any discussions and decisions with
the County.

Ultimately, measures of one‘s ability to improve the quality of life of the City include:
  Attractiveness of City.
  Ease of commuting (e.g. street lighting and parking)
  Enjoyment of walking around the City
  Attendance of City events (e.g. festivals and town forums)
  Patronage of the libraries and art institutions (e.g. seasons ticket holders at the Symphony and
Syracuse Stage and membership at our various cultural organizations)
  Whether there is an increase in the number of the retail establishments.
  Whether sales tax receipts have increased.
  Whether crime statistics are trending in the right direction.
  Trending increases of people moving into the City as opposed to moving out.
  High School graduation rates.
  Employment increase.

Most importantly, I would make sure these growth factors are captured in clear statistics that were
made publically available so that citizens could measure the ability of the Mayor and see how their
taxpayer dollars are being used.

Miner   My vision for a quality community is a Syracuse that provides opportunity for all our people, young
        and old, rich and poor, people of all races, ethnicities, abilities, and nationalities who work hard and
        dream to achieve a better life for themselves and their families. A community where hard working
        men and women can find the jobs that will provide them with the pride and dignity that can only
        come from a hard day‘s work. A city where all our people can find well-paying jobs that will put food
        on the table, heat their homes, and pay for their family‘s healthcare. A community that grows small
        businesses, creates green jobs, encourages entrepreneurship, and develops economic opportunities
        that will create local wealth, advance our region as a cradle for sustainable industries, and provide a
        lasting public benefit.

        I see a Syracuse where our children are not afraid to walk to our schools and play in our
        neighborhoods. A city where parents believe their children step outside their doors and not into the
        strife and peril of gangs and drugs, but into a city where any dream can be realized. A city with the
        schools and educational support systems that make individual success a true possibility for all our

        I envision a Syracuse that returns to its heritage as a steward of our environment. A city that finds
        strength in the philosophy of the Iroquois League by making decisions today that will leave our city
        no less beautiful and vibrant seven generations into the future. A city that employs sustainable
        solutions in government, design, and economic development that create cost savings while lowering
        our ecological footprint.

        I see a Syracuse that embraces its diversity as an invaluable asset, and builds a community of
        openness and equality for people of all faiths, all ethnicities, all sexual orientations, all ages, and all
        economic backgrounds. A city whose people value what we can learn from those who are different
        from us and always remember the principles we hold in common.

        Achieving this vision will be my mission every day as Mayor. The Mayor has a responsibility to
        provide strong, charismatic leadership for the city and the region. The City of Syracuse must work to
        enhance and market its existing resources in housing, unique architecture, parks and recreational
        amenities, shopping, and cultural institutions. I intend to work in cooperation with the County and
        local community development, economic development, and citizen advocacy and engagement
        organizations to develop unified regional marketing strategies.

        Organizations and institutions including Syracuse University, SUNY-ESF, Lemoyne College, The
        Syracuse Center of Excellence, the Metropolitan Development Association, Syracuse 20/20, FOCUS
        Greater Syracuse, the Onondaga Citizens‘ League, the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, the
        Convention and Visitors Bureau, 40 Below, and many others have already engaged in various
        marketing campaigns. I will work to bring all parties together to unify a marketing strategy that is
        strong, clear, and effective in highlighting the Syracuse Metro area and all the benefits of living,
        working, and playing here.

        It now appears that the federal government under President Barack Obama may also act as a strong
        partner in creating quality local communities around the nation. On June 16th EPA head Lisa Jackson
        joined with HUD Secretary Shaun Donavan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in pledging to
        work collaboratively to advance more ―livable,‖ sustainable American communities.

        Administration officials cite myriad policy concepts and goals including smart growth, transit
        oriented housing options, cleaner air and water, promoting ―complete streets,‖ and many others. ―For
        the first time, the federal government will speak with one voice on housing, environmental and
        transportation policy,‖ said Secretary Donovan. This is exactly the kind of comprehensive, cross-
        agency, multi-disciplinary policy approach that will generate higher public sector effectiveness while
        simultaneously forwarding an agenda of sustainable, livable local communities. We must work with
        the federal government to take advantage of all opportunities to advance this shared goal of creating a
        quality community right here in Syracuse and Onondaga County.

        These partnerships are also critical in pursuing our vision for the Syracuse we want to market to the
        world. As Mayor I will work with all community stakeholders to bring the change that we need.
        Making a truly quality community means being a leader in generating a critical mass of individuals
        and organizations that lift the entire community up – together. A quality community is not made by
        government making decisions in a vacuum or by giving people handouts. A genuine and sustainable
        quality community can only be achieved by empowering all members of our community to help make
this community better. I have found that members of our community will show up and put their
blood, sweat and tears into a project they believe will help the greater community if they are asked to
do so. They are waiting to be asked. A quality community can only be achieved by stepping back and
looking at the big picture of how services are provided to people in this community and how we can
make fundamental improvements to those systems. It can only be achieved by getting out of our old
silos and working more cooperatively and efficiently both within city government as well as with
other agencies, institutions, and governments. It can only be achieved by working openly toward clear
goals that people and organizations in our neighborhoods can understand and get behind. A genuine
and sustainable quality community can only be achieved if government acts as an instrument of the
people, with the people of this city – not as an isolated agent.

As Mayor I will create an unparalleled level of openness and transparency in City government. The
vision, goals, strategies, and measures of City operations will always be accessible to citizens and
stakeholders. Using new technology like interactive web-content and public meeting broadcast I will
work to develop a greater sense of awareness and understanding for the public. Our priorities and
activities will always be clear and predictable for all those who live in or may seek to live in our City.
I will place an emphasis on preserving our quality built environment and historic resources to the end
of strengthening and creating interesting places that spur economic growth and urban vitality.

Dynamic and creative people are drawn to places with unique characteristics, genuine historic value,
and fun places where urban interactions are the lifeblood of creativity and cultural exchange. We have
these places. Places like Armory Square, Hanover Square, North Salina Street, South Salina Street,
Marshall Street, James Street business district, South Avenue, Columbus Circle, Westcott Street,
South Geddes Street, Clinton Square, and East Genesee Street show us the value of such places.
Places that hold the classic urban commercial density and the historic industrious spirit of our past.
Places that can not be replicated in the suburbs. We must always work to protect these places and
the unique character, urban density, and human-oriented design that give them such incredible
residential, entertainment, and economic life and potential. We must foster these principles in all our
City‘s dense neighborhood commercial corridors.

I will articulate clear economic development principles and strategies that create a predictable
atmosphere for business people and for our neighborhoods. By providing that clarity and by
streamlining the economic development process we can work to grow jobs and provide more
economic vitality to our downtown, our neighborhood commercial corridors, and our neighborhoods.
A proactive, approach to clear and easily accessible economic development procedures such as
permitting, codes, zoning, and incentive packages will remove the ambiguity, the frustration, and the
contention from the process. Clarity in our economic development principles and practices will foster
a more business friendly environment while also protecting our neighbors and neighborhoods.

We must also strive, as a region, to pursue economic growth in key clusters. I intend to work closely
with Onondaga County, the MDA, the Center of Excellence, the Chamber of Commerce, SUNY-ESF,
the Syracuse Technology Garden, and others to create unified strategies for attracting businesses and
jobs in green technology and environmental systems. Considering our region‘s existing strengths in
these sectors, the growth these sectors have seen nationally, our considerable natural resources, and
our desire to make Syracuse a more sustainable community it is imperative that we work to make
ourselves – not just brand ourselves - as one of the ―greenest‖ cities in the nation by attracting new
businesses and growing green jobs right here in Syracuse through our schools and institutions of
higher learning.

Our city is home to incredible resources in green spaces, and recreational and natural resources. The
City of Syracuse boasts over 170 municipally owned and maintained parks. While the City uses these
facilities for recreational and fitness programming for children, adults and seniors the City also works
to develop new trails, paths, spaces, and facilities that add to the urban landscape in ways that can
incite economic development, promote a stronger connection to nature, and improve public health.
The Connective Corridor and the Creekwalk project are both examples of initiatives that can provide
an injection of new excitement and energy into the city experience to achieve these desired outcomes.
This vision cannot be realized by one person or one agency. I will work with County Executive
Joanie Mahoney to collaboratively provide that strong, charismatic leadership that will be required to
achieve lasting success. The City and County must explore ways to create unified strategies and
incentives to stimulate the kind of growth and investment we want to see in Syracuse and Onondaga

            We know that sustainable growth and development is only achieved with a regional policy
            perspective. The strong working relationship I have with Joanie, first struck on the Common Council
            and renewed with the Say Yes to Education program, will serve as a basis for this collaboration, and I
            look forward to working with her in Washington, in Albany, and here at home to bring the change we
            need to this region.

            The challenges we face as a community are significant. The decline of our population and tax base
            has gone on for nearly sixty years. Instant, sweeping change is unrealistic. However, I will strive from
            day one to improve the quality of life in the City of Syracuse by developing and implementing
            progressive policies steeped in innovation, transparency, community engagement, and a zeal for bold,
            equitable leadership that provides 21st Century responses to Syracuse‘s 21 st Century challenges and
            opportunities. These policies, if implemented consistently, have the potential to bring new jobs,
            improved graduation rates, safer streets, greater economic vitality, and a larger population to the City
            of Syracuse.
Nicoletti   Quality neighborhoods are the basis of creating a quality community and this must be an effort of not
            just the Mayor but the people who live in the neighborhoods. The Mayor has to be a person who can
            excite the neighborhoods with the possibilities and provide the leadership to bring people together.

            Creating safe neighborhoods is essential to creating and continuing growth. The residents and
            businesses in the neighborhood need to work together through formal and informal organizations like
            neighborhood watch, business associations and neighborhood groups to assist the police in identifying
            hot spots and hot issues. The Mayor needs to support these neighborhood efforts as well as identify
            the best ways to utilize the police resources we have. There must be more of a police presence on the
            streets patrolling and a strong emphasis on community policing.

            Effective delivery of services particularly in the Public Works domain such as snow removal and
            garbage pick-up needs to be addressed. The Syra Stat system has allowed for greater efficiency in
            these services but much more needs to be done to analyze and perhaps change the way the city
            provides services. New strategies need to be developed for perennial problems such as sidewalk snow
            shoveling and illegal trash set-outs.

            We need to have a city-wide housing policy. We have to look at how we determine the use of our
            Community Development Block Grant funding and have major change in the way we spend this
            funding. It may be necessary to re-organize and modernize departments such as Code Enforcement.
            As part of our city wide housing plan we must demand green collar jobs through the implementation
            of programs such as deconstruction or environmentally friendly construction. In order to revitalize
            neighborhoods we need to do things differently, with a Director of Housing leading a unified city
            housing strategy.

            While continuing over-all city wide efforts I would continue what Congressman Walsh began with
            SNI which was to target additional resources to specific neighborhoods were the opportunity to retain
            or attract middle income home-owners exists. These neighborhoods where there are neighborhood
            associations, park associations, business groups etc. need to be encouraged and assisted to grow and
            market their area. They provide additional leverage in attracting funding and contributing sweat
            equity to making the city more attractive.

            Our parks are one of the great attractions of our city. As a former Deputy Parks Commissioner I have
            a great love and understanding of our Park system. This is again an area where citizen involvement
            has made a tremendous difference. I would look at creative strategies such as establishing a Parks
            Conservancy to provide new financial support for the Parks.

            In order to attract and retain jobs in the city we need to have a major overhaul of the way we do
            Economic Development which will include much closer coordination with the county. Economic
            Development will be part of the Mayor‘s office. We will build on the pre-development meeting
            process with person meetings by the Mayor with businesses large or small who want to pursue a new
            development or need assistance in retaining jobs. Each new project will be assigned and economic
            development specialist whose function will be to assist the business throughout the process.

            Encouraging and developing opportunities for increasing residents in the Downtown/Lakefront area is
            essential to the success of the city and the region. To attract residents you need services and to attract
            service businesses you need numbers of residents; a cyclical dilemma. The city has made good
progress in increasing the number of downtown residents in the last five years. As the financial
markets improve I would look to see many more downtown projects completed. I would continue the
City‘s support for public art and green initiatives which attract that important ―creative class‖ that we
need to make the City and region exciting.

I believe the initiatives that are being undertaken to have Syracuse be a hub of green technology jobs
and innovations is benefiting both the City and the region. Many of the jobs will be right in the city
but it creates a wonderful stimulus for the whole region.

Recently, the head of the EPA, in partnership with the Department of Transportation and the
department of Housing and Urban Development, announced a new program called the Partnership for
Sustainable Communities. The program, which provides funding for improving access to affordable
housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs, operates on six basic livability
principles. First, the need to provide more transportation choices to reduce our dependence on foreign
oil and greenhouse gas emissions. Second, to promote equitable, affordable housing that is energy
efficient and available in a variety of locations. Third, to enhance economic competitiveness by
improving upon services and educational opportunities for our workers. Fourth, to target federal
funding toward existing communities – through such strategies as transit-oriented, mixed-use
development and land recycling – to increase community revitalization, improve the efficiency of
public works investments, and safeguard rural landscapes. Fifth, to coordinate policies and leverage
investments by removing barriers to collaboration between all levels of government to improve smart
growth. Lastly, to value communities and neighborhoods by investing in walkable neighborhoods that
are safe and friendly to the environment. As mayor, I would explore this new resource and work to
uphold these excellent principles.

The next Mayor must feel passionate and committed to Syracuse. The Mayor has to believe in the
need for people and diverse communities to work together and have the willingness to go the extra
mile for a common goal. To build coalitions you need to be flexible to be willing to listen to and care
about the concerns of all parties. Coalitions require people to put aside their pre-conceived notions for
the greater good. I have extensive experience and skills from working in many levels of government
and many different businesses. I don‘t underestimate the difficulty that can arise in reaching the
consensus for the common good but I have the skills to make it work.

The Mayor and the County Executive have to work closely together for either entity to be truly
successful. The present County Executive and I have worked together already on both public and
private projects and have a great amount of mutual trust and understanding. She has a unique
understanding of the needs and concerns of City government which will be of great benefit as we
discuss issues such as jobs, strengthening the tax base and future sales tax distribution.

Local Government Restructuring/Modernization:
Question: Government Modernization- What is your position on government modernization, both in terms
of functional consolidations and significant government structural reform? What are some of the government
functions you would consider consolidating? How would you go about advancing a plan for consolidating or
sharing local government services? What would be the advantages and/or disadvantages to the City of a new
government structure such as a merged city-county? What conditions would need to be in place to support
city-county consolidation? What measures can we use to assess your success in advancing a modernized local

                We are appreciative of SYRACUSE 20/20‘s concern and leadership in highlighting the need for local
                government restructuring and modernization. Your emphasis on service consolidation and structural
                reform of government structures is timely.

                                 As I have walked through the community and visited the schools, I am aware more
                             than ever that Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public are outraged and in a foul mood. They are fed
                             up with bloated, ineffective, excessive spending as their sidewalks, schools and
                             neighborhoods cry out for rehabilitation. As the economic crisis causes them to
                             cutback, reconsider, and curtail every area of their lives, they expect government to do
                             likewise. Clean, lean, streamlined government is in; bloated, inefficient, and ineffective
                             government is out. Serving the needs of the people is in; self-serving politicians are out.
                             Maintaining the status quo is out; true change is in.

                                Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public are asking, ―Are At-Large County Legislators
                             necessary?‖ ―Would the City Council be better served with just district councilors?‖
                             ―Is the Council President really essential?‖ ―Would the City operate efficiently with
                             fewer departments, less staff and shorter hours?‖ ―What are the pluses and minuses of
                             consolidating such services as Police and Fire Departments with those in the County?‖

                                As private citizens rethink their options, so should City and County governments. In
                             collaboration with concerned citizens, community organizations, City Councilors and
                             County Legislators, let us begin the dialogue and put into operation a mechanism, be it a
                             commission or taskforce, to jump start the dialogue. Let the dialogue flow into
                             legislation that can be put on the ballot and voted on by Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public.

                The citizens of Syracuse and Onondaga County are demanding a new standard of public service, a
                new commitment to governmental reform. They understand their economic plight and their
                possibilities. As a Candidate for Mayor of the City of Syracuse, I stand resolute and ready to initiate
                such a noble undertaking.

Harlow          I do believe in the restructuring and/or modernization of government and I am open to new ideas and
                innovative ways of governing, as long as it is aligned with our shared vision for the City. I support
                eliminating duplication of services, and I would coordinate partnerships with villages, towns, the
                County, State, etc., when necessary and feasible. I would consider consolidating snow and ice
                removal, sanitation and recycling, and economic development (please see page 4—short answer
                questions). A merged City-County government model would require in-depth study to determine the
                benefits to City residents, particularly regarding taxes-- City property owners now pay both City and
                County taxes. As Mayor, I would work closely with my staff and advisors to consolidate services
                and programs to avoid duplication and save money, and in my previous work experience, I have been
                involved in looking at several ways to do this and have been instrumental in making it happen.

                My success can and will be measured by cost-savings, waste-reduction, by the maintenance/
                expansion of essential services, by re-directing cost savings into modernization efforts, and by a slow,
                but steady increase in our net assets and fiscal stability.

Jennings        Q: What is your position on government modernization, both in terms of functional consolidations
                and significant government structural reform?

                A: It has to happen if we‘re going to reverse the city‘s downward spiral. A number of institutional
                studies show that New York has too much government costing too much money for services that
           could be delivered much more efficiently. Most recently Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has
           documented more than 10,500 governmental entities across the state. He says, "That's why taxes are
           so high. It can't be that we need all 10,500 governments." I agree and I believe we can modernize, we
           can downsize while still providing good service but to do so we must stop being so parochial.

           Q: What are some of the government functions you would consider consolidating?

           A: The obvious partnerships have been identified for years such as purchasing, data processing and
           combining city/county economic development offices. We should also look at coordinating police and
           fire services, snow removal, road maintenance, and other public works along the city/town borders.
           For example, Syracuse‘s Fire Department is one of the top rated department‘s in the country; we need
           to turn the department into a hub to boost the service in the surrounding area. The City of New York
           has five emergency medical vehicles for the whole borough of Manhattan, which contains 6-7million
           people, while in Onondaga County we have 48 emergency vehicles with less than a half-million

           Q: How would you go about advancing a plan for consolidating or sharing local government

           A: I would work on active partnerships with the county government, 20/20, MDA, MACNY,
           Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and town governments that surround Syracuse. We start by talking
           about the possibilities then develop a framework for more formal discussions. It will be neither easy
           nor quick but reasonable people can see the necessity and if we do it transparently, including the
           people in the discussion, then we have a chance at success.

           Q: What would be the advantages and/or disadvantages to the City of a new government structure
           such as a merged city-county?

           A: Advantages include fewer governments perhaps at less cost, more influence outside the region
           because the community would be speaking with a single voice that should open up more federal and
           state funding because they see us working collaboratively.

           Disadvantages include the chance for less responsive government, bigger bureaucracy (and bigger is
           not better); too much influence by one section over another, and the risk of turning rural/urban
           borders into battle lines (e.g. some volunteer fire districts).

           Q: What conditions would need to be in place to support city-county consolidation?

           A: We need leadership with vision, a willingness to cooperate, and the ability to engage in
           meaningful discussions. The economic circumstances demand we do this now. I recognize the gravity
           of Syracuse‘s financial plight as we are facing rising costs and a dwindling tax base, complicated by
           stagnant leadership. I will engage people in the discussion because change will only happen if the
           people recognize that change is needed and they understand the changes that are being proposed.

           Q: What measures can we use to assess your success in advancing a modernized local government?

           A: Higher graduation rates, job training programs, job creation, business growth, capital projects
           completed, and most importantly - bringing families back into the City.
Kimatian   Modernization of government is mandatory if government is going to operate efficiently and
           effectively in today‘s world. Full use of Informational Technologies must be integrated into all
           aspects of government in carrying out structural and functional reform. In addition, functional reform
           should be made in providing a full range of government activities open to two way citizen-city
           interactive connectivity.

           Depending upon the cost and operational evaluations and insuring that the results would be a plus for
           the City, I would consider consolidating the following government functions: Economic
           Development, Parks, Aviation and Transportation, Purchasing (to the extent it has not been done),
           Informational Systems and Research.

           I would advance a plan for consolidating or sharing local government services by the following plan:

           1. Internally identifying potential areas with key department heads documenting the benefits and any
        2. Discussions with County representatives.
        3. Development of consolidation plan.
        4. Presentation to public for input giving a clear message of the reasons.
        5. Evaluation of public response.
        6. Further modification based on public comment.
        7. Final consolidation plan.

        Any such consideration of a new government structure of merged city-county should be based on
        whether the City residents would benefit from better services, not driven by cost alone. It is also
        necessary to preserve the essential characteristics of the City, with the ability to make decisions that
        are City-citizen based. In order to have city-county consolidation, city residents must believe it is in
        their best interest to accomplish whatever consolidation is planned.

        To assess success in advancing a modernized local government, the following factors should be
        1. Whether the City residents are in fact receiving better services.
        2. Whether City receives cost savings.
        3. Whether the public ultimately approves and is glad the steps were taken.
Miner   In an era of less reliable state and federal aid, shrinking tax bases, and growing service needs
        government modernization will be quintessential issue for formerly industrial northeast and Midwest
        cities to address. The government structures established in our state and region hundreds of years ago
        are no longer sufficient to provide the responsive, well-targeted, comprehensive public service we
        need. Clearly, our government systems are not always acting as the catalysts to positive change that
        they should be. Our communities must explore ways we can fundamentally improve how public
        services are provided.

        My views on government modernization and restructuring are twofold: modernizing and improving
        the existing city government structure, and pursuing ways to modernize government structures in the
        county and region beyond the City of Syracuse.

        As Mayor, it will be my responsibility to make city government itself run more effectively and more
        efficiently. As such, I intend to rethink the way our city administration is put together. Under the
        current arrangement department heads technically report to either the Director of Administration or
        the Director of Operations and I would like to reexamine this reporting structure so there is a clearer
        rationale for why each Commissioner reports to a certain Director. Also under the current
        arrangement, the Director of Operations is expected to manage each department head to make sure
        that the operations of that department are running smoothly and successfully while at the same time
        he is expected to carry forth certain major projects that cross departments. Senior staff must be
        employed in the effective management of major projects that properly demonstrate crossdepartmental
        synergy. Primarily, the Director of Administration must make sure that each department under the
        purview of ‗Administration‘ touches on each ‗Operations‘ department appropriately. Additionally, an
        office of Mayoral Initiatives could be incorporated to further promote inter-departmental synergy
        and manage major projects across city functions.

        Concurrently, I will ensure that the structure of city departments creates clarity of responsibility,
        reduces duplication and waste, and maximizes operational output by fostering effective staff
        coordination. One such step would be the reunification of the departments of Economic and
        Community Development. While some functions fall more clearly under one department or the other
        under the current separated structure, many policy concepts and functions are difficult to
        separate into either an economic or community development classification. In fact, much of what
        these departments currently pursue is both economic development and community development in
        nature. Therefore, for these concepts to be properly integrated in a way that achieves effective
        communication across city staff and reduces the waste associated with having separate departments
        with separate leadership, staff, support staff, office equipment, and relationships with the public
        these departments should be reunified. This would certainly not preclude stronger sharing of
        economic development functions with the County either.

        Another step could be the creation of an office of planning. City government is often criticized for not
        employing a planning department that engages in urban design and cross-departmental planning
        functions that promote sound, strategic decisions that are tied to a well-articulated vision and set of
        principles while also maximizing the investments made by various city departments and city
partnerships. I believe this criticism is valid and an office of Planning and Sustainability may achieve
these desired outcomes without necessarily growing city government. In fact there are already some
existing city personnel that could be incorporated into such an office immediately. Such an office
would further advance a new era of synergistic and innovative city operations that place an emphasis
on creativity, best practices, sustainable growth and development, and greater efficiency.

In regards to modernizing government structures in the county and region beyond the City of
Syracuse, I believe we are now seeing a groundswell of citizen interest in how our current
government structures work and how changes might be made to make them work better.

An excellent example of how this interest is manifesting itself in our state is the recent legislation put
forth by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. This law signals an awakening in New
York State. The people of this state are seeing that the antiquated nature of our government structures
is a barrier to reaching our true potential as local communities and as a state. Unresponsive
governments, heavy tax burdens, and complicated, unpredictable service structures are holding us
back from achieving the success in business, education, and community development that we work so
hard for as public servants and as citizens.

This legislation puts the power in the hands of New York‘s people – where it belongs – making it
easier to pursue new government models that provide services in ways that promote cost effectiveness
and greater government accountability. This law provides greater clarity in state municipal law and
gives towns, villages, special districts, and citizens easier paths to initiating action that can lead to
government reforms. Here in Central New York we need reforms that promote equity, smart
growth, urban vitality, and more strategic investments in infrastructure and our neighborhoods.
Laying out clear and reasonable guidelines for the people of New York to seek change and take an
active role in shaping their governments is critical to our quality of life and fundamental to our

While this legislation puts greater focus on how towns, villages, and special districts might seek
reform, I do believe that cities and counties play a major role in leading our metropolitan areas to
more effective governance. I also believe that the most successful efforts to make our government
structures more effective is to seek incremental changes over time that provide clear benefits while
effectively illustrating those to tax payers and political leaders. It is clear that efforts to unify
our planning and operations at a county level by activating plans like the Onondaga County
Settlement Plan and empowering bodies like SOCPA and the CNYRPDB are imperative in the long-
term. However, attempts to drastically and immediately overhaul all government structures in
Onondaga County would likely fall unsuccessful due to fear and resistance to change found in the
citizenry and in the parochial circles of town and village political leadership. Such failure would no
doubt create a stigma for government modernization and would lengthen the road to real change.
Incremental steps that could be taken in the near-term to advance government modernization and
service-sharing agreements in Onondaga County might include public safety services including police
and fire protection. We have already seen success stories regarding police protection including the
merging of the Clay Police Department with the County Sheriff‘s Department. Police service is
certainly one area of service consolidation that has real potential to generate at least some cost
savings to tax payers while creating greater clarity and accountability to the constituencies involved.
Of course, service sharing and consolidation is not just about cost-savings. While cost-saving is often
going to be an associated motivation for and benefit of consolidation, creating more appropriate,
logical and accountable governance is also a key driver.

Another area of public services that holds potential is in fire protection. One advantageous factor
regarding fire protection service is that the City of Syracuse has a world-class department whose
services might appear attractive to neighboring towns and villages. Fire protection services are very
expensive to provide and this is one area where the duplication present in this County is staggering.
One of the most striking numbers to me in this area is one noted in one of Syracuse 20/20‘s
presentations on government modernization. While New York City has only five heavy rescue trucks
to service over 8 million people over five boroughs, Onondaga County is home to 53 such apparatus.
The inherent waste in that is astounding. It is evident that the people of our suburban towns and
villages would prefer not to rely on volunteer fire protection operations. This combination of a highly
trained professional City Fire Department and the desire of surrounding towns and villages to have
improved fire protection services may create an opportunity to sell City fire protection services to
contiguous towns. This could help to provide better fire protection services over a larger area of the
county and create per capita cost effectiveness for this service while also advancing our goals for
            government modernization.

            While reform in the nature of our public service provision would likely yield major net benefits to our
            citizens, there is certainly potential disadvantages to any changes that might be made as well. We
            have already seen some such disadvantages. One example is the lack of sensitivity shown to some of
            our most disadvantaged neighborhoods by the County government when they were pursuing
            the installation of sewage treatment plants in the City of Syracuse. While it appears that a new
            approach to the ACJ and the associated infrastructure projects has been taken by County Executive
            Mahoney, the fact that the County had authority over this sector of public service created inequity in
            the system. Historically, there has been a lack of accountability to certain city populations on the part
            of County government, and this was evident in the planning of the sewage treatment plant
            projects prior to the Mahoney administration.

            It is undeniable that the Mayor of the City of Syracuse must play a role in order to achieve large-scale
            success in government modernization in Onondaga County and Central New York. While it may be
            possible to create indicators to measure the success of city, town, village, and county leaders in regard
            to government modernization, it is the intangible factors of effective leadership that will be key to
            reaching a higher level of effectiveness and accountability in our government systems. I intend to
            provide the strong leadership on these and other issues necessary to create an atmosphere more
            conducive to positive change in our city and county.
Nicoletti   In the next four years, our mayor must take an active look at the structure of our current city
            government. Given the current financial crisis, it is imperative that we maximize all of our resources
            in order to achieve the financial vitality necessary to allow our city to flourish. For too long, we have
            operated under an outdated model, one that no longer reflects the needs and conditions of the present.
            The fact is, we can no longer afford to live in isolation. In order to address the increasing redundancy
            and improve efficiency within local government, I believe we must take a hard look and a strong hand
            to the current governance structures.

            I favor a total review of our city government. As it currently stands, the structure of our city
            government has not changed significantly in at least the last 45 years. There is no question the current
            structure is out of date. Though there have been a few small changes, true modernization has yet to be
            achieved. What we need is a structure that reflects the needs and conditions of 2010, and that will
            serve us into the future. In these turbulent economic times, I see three major aspects in achieving such
            a structure.

            First, we must take a look at the current structure, identify the stress points that hold us back as an
            effective governing body, and undertake the comprehensive process of modernization. It is imperative
            that we examine past attempts at modernization to understand why progress has previously been
            stymied. Second, we must scrutinize the resources and requirements of not only the city, but of other
            neighboring governments (i.e. Onondaga County) in search of opportunities for the sharing of
            services. Third, we have to be creative in not only government organization, but in how we view
            economic development and organization. We must begin to start looking at regional approaches. It is
            here that we will encounter the most opposition, and achieve the most dramatic results.

            As mayor I would favor an immediate review in three areas of governance within the city to make us
            more efficient and constituent friendly. The first is within the area of finance. (Hopefully creating a
            formal relationship with the city school district) Secondly I will take direct action regarding code
            enforcement, community development, and building permits; three areas from which increased,
            effective cooperation will be beneficial to both voters and small businesses. And third, I will move
            the function of economic development directly into the mayor‘s office, the long term goal of which
            being to push for a more regional economic approach.

            I saw firsthand, that to attempt dramatic change without the support of the public is an exercise in
            futility. In the past, we have seen the failure of the City of Syracuse in its consolidation efforts with
            the Liverpool Police Department. We have also seen the success of the Sherriff‘s Department and
            Clay Police Department merger. I think both experiences have valuable takeaways. However in the
            face of our current economic condition, citizens are more willing to accept consolidation, mergers,
            and shared service efforts.

Question: Finances (limit to 3 pages) - What is your vision for providing adequate funding to the schools and ensuring
that the funding has strict accountability measures in place? What measures can we use to assess your success in
providing adequate funding to the Syracuse City School District?
Davis               First, I would like to thank SYRACUSE 20/20 for your indefatigable efforts for adequate funding for
                    the Syracuse City School District from state and local sources, your emphasis on increased
                    accountability for education related outcomes, and your advocacy at federal, state and local levels on
                    education policy issues.

                            As a native of Syracuse, educated in the Syracuse City Schools, Onondaga Community
                   College and SUNY Oswego, as well as teaching in the SCSD for eight years, I have had a great
                   opportunity to experience first hand the opportunities and challenges that administrators, teachers and
                   students face. Most recently, I had the opportunity to visit the four high schools (Henninger,
                   Corcoran, Fowler and Nottingham) and a number of middle schools (Levy, Lincoln) to talk with
                   students, teachers and administrators about challenges they face on a daily basis.

                             In my position paper published in Urban CNY, June 2009 edition, entitled ―A Message to the
                   residents of Syracuse‖ I wrote, ―We must invest in our education system. Most people who move
                   from the city do so because of issues or concerns with the school system. I believe that our schools
                   can improve the outcomes for our students when there is an emphasis on raising expectations. We
                   must believe in our young people and expect them to do their best. Simultaneously, we must raise
                   our expectations of our schools‘ teachers, administrators, and support staff. We must give them the
                   financial support they need and the diversity in the teaching staff they deserve.‖ In that article, I
                   continued by stating, ―In doing that, we must equip students to be either college bound or workforce
                   ready. The Say Yes to Education Program is an excellent way to support college bound students, and
                   yet we need a similar incentive for those students who are not going to college. I believe an
                   internship program that partners with existing businesses and trade associations offer those students a
                   concrete way to gain valuable skills. We can no longer tolerate a 50 percent drop out rate. We must
                   look at the total student from kindergarten through high school. Under my administration, I will
                   establish a positive working relationship with the school superintendent and board of commissioners.
                   We must all be on the same page to insure our students‘ success.‖

                            My vision for providing adequate funding to schools, ensuring strict accountability
                   measures, and having appropriate assessment tools for effectiveness will come only after a thorough
                   review of where we are presently. So, my first objective in this process would be to evaluate our
                   present situation.

                   According to Mayor Matthew Driscoll‘s 2009 State of the City Address:
                            Half of the combined $624 million City and School District budget is

                                Funded through various State Aid payments.
                               Sources of State Aid payments are business & income taxes.

                               Locally generated revenues such as sales tax, fees on real estate transactions, interest on
                                bank deposits are sensitive to economic downturns.

                               Syracuse City School District budget constitutes more than half of all city spending.

                               The Mayor and Common Council are limited to providing a total budget ceiling and
                                levying the property taxes necessary to reach this amount.

                               Specifics of how money is spent are the responsibility of the Superintendent and the
                                Board of Education.

                   The dilemma that most municipalities are facing, as spelled out in the ―State of the City‖ Address is
                   that of large property tax increases or severe program and service cuts are needed in order to address
                   budget gaps. Because the City of Syracuse had a fund balance of $63 million in June 30, 2008, the
                   Mayor used that fund balance to freeze property tax rates.

                   The next Mayor will be confronted with the dilemma as to whether he or she should continue using
                   the fund balance in lieu or raising city and school property taxes or come up with other methods to
           raise money for the schools. The other question that arises is how do your ensure strict accountability
           measures and institute effective assessment tools when the Mayor and the Common Council only
           provide the funds, and the Superintendent and the Board of Education determine their use? My
           vision as Mayor would be to convene a Taskforce or Commission composed of the Mayor,
           Superintendent of Schools, Members of the Board of Education, along with community residents and
           organizations, elected State and Federal officials, etc., to explore solutions to resolve the problem. It
           may require Charter revisions that would be put to a referendum on which the voting public will
           weigh in. To achieve accountability, it will take the collaboration of all the stakeholders. As Mayor,
           I envision convening such a Commission to address this problem. The Mayor, in collaboration with
           the Common Council and Superintendent of Schools must engage the entire community in a dialogue
           as to how this problem is best resolved. If legislation is necessary then the Board of Education and
           the Common Council should act accordingly.

           Once the City School District and the Mayor and Common Council have a mechanism for adequate
           funding, the SyraStat Program, already in place, which includes a review of the performance of all
           city departments, could be utilized and the SCSD would be added to this process whose keys are:
                     Development of measurable performance indicators tailored to a department‘s specific

                        Systematic collection of data to determine if performance is improving, deteriorating or
                         staying the same.

                        Creation of a hands-on review panel.

           Other indicators, in regards to the Syracuse City School District, would be stats to indicate an
           improvement in graduation rates, a decrease in truancy, and an increase in the diversity of staff and

Harlow     I would continue the utilization of SyraStat to monitor the school district‘s finances. The SCSD
           finance department would be monitored by SyrStat, but there would also be on-going dialogue
           between the Common Council Finance Committee and the SCSD to encourage a pro-active approach
           to budgeting and spending. State representatives (Assembly and Senate) need to be involved in
           discussions regarding state aid, as well as the NYS Education Department. In addition, discussions
           would be held with the NYS Lottery to ascertain the portion/distribution for schools.
Jennings   Now, more than ever, we must stop waste and maximize our resources. To reduce costs and
           eliminate duplication of services, I propose the consolidation of school district departments with
           coordinating departments within city administration.

           Of primary concern is the disproportionately large population of city students who suffer from the
           inequitable availability and distribution of funds. I insist that our district receive any and all funding
           to which we are entitled – including the entire $40 million promised to Syracuse city schools,
           promised when the state settled the ―Campaign for Fiscal Equity‖ lawsuit. I will go to Albany to fight
           for these and other funding sources that the state can provide. But I won‘t do it alone. I believe
           locating and developing adequate funds for our schools requires a collaborative effort by school
           administrators, city and county government and state and federal lawmakers.

           Continued investment in our educational system will attract more city residents, increasing our tax
           base. This makes more money available to meet the needs of city schools in our most challenged
           neighborhoods, and to contribute to the Say Yes to Education Program.

           As for accountability, I would continue the use of Syrastat; not as ―bully pulpit,‖ but as a tool to
           ensure fair and equitable distribution of school funds and resources.

Kimatian   Adequate funding means insuring that the maximum funds available are received from State and
           Federal governments. The City should align itself with other similarly situated cities to have the
           greatest impact in State discussions. In addition, there are Federal monies available for certain
           programs, and I would be sure that the School Board is attentive to these opportunities.

           Close coordination of budget creation and monitoring of expenditures with the City CFO would be
           incorporated into the City / School District relationship.

           Success would be measured by demonstrating that all curriculum needs were met for instruction and
            in attendance by students, performance of the students on standardized testing, graduation rates and
            the positive presence of the students in the community.
Miner       In order to have an honest discussion about adequate school funding, we must first address a question
            that consistently permeates the Syracuse City School District, namely is the money spent well? Is the
            available funding expended on the priorities that we, as a community, believe to be the most
            essential? There is a prevalent dichotomy that exists in the Syracuse community, where there is a
            perceived need for additional funding and yet skepticism as to whether or not the money the district
            already receives is spent in the most efficient manner.

            The evidence of this conflict is most apparent in the 2009 Syracuse City School District Survey,
            published in January, which questioned the views of parents and guardians whose children are
            enrolled in the Syracuse city schools. The results revealed that only 41% of survey participants
            believed the school district ―make[s] good use of funds.‖ It seems difficult to advocate for additional
            school funding when the community involved holds the view that dollars are poorly spent.

            To resolve this uncertainty and ensure accountability measures, there are several steps I will take as
            Mayor. The first would be a comprehensive and professionally executed audit. The numerous audits
            that the Syracuse City School District has conducted have done little to assure the community that
            money is spent well. In a full audit the results would be more than just accounting, more than just
            a balance to check that the district‘s bookkeeping matches its expenses. As previously stated, the
            larger and more important question is whether that money was spent well. An audit would assess
            whether the district is truly budgeting, namely setting a list of priorities and assuring money is
            expended on those concerns first, without waste or diverted funds. With an accurate and reliable
            budget, the district as well as the community at large would face some difficult decisions, but it
            would establish our goals and clear outcome measures. We could then use that document as a means
            to measure our success in budgeting and using our funds appropriately. Without the public‘s
            confidence in the district‘s handling of expenses there can be no honest advocacy and widespread
            support for additional funding.

            In order to foster a more collaborative partnership I will encourage the City Hall financial staff to
            meet regularly with the school district budgeting team. Since New York State and the city charter
            give ultimate approval of the budget to the Common Council it is essential that these bodies create a
            cooperative relationship.

            The staffs from both City Hall and the school district would meet not only on the large projects that
            would significantly impact the city budget, but also throughout the entire budget process. It is time
            that these stakeholders work together to recognize their joint duties and responsibilities. If our schools
            continue to deteriorate in physical appearance, academic achievement and community-wide
            perception the ramifications will be felt throughout the city and region.

            Another strategy to ensure more accountability measures in terms of finances is to increase
            transparency within the district as well as the Board of Education. As a financially dependent school
            district it would benefit the Syracuse City School District and the children to hold a more open
            process regarding all budgetary aspects of the district‘s operations. There could be more meetings
            held at a more convenient time to encourage the public‘s attendance. A freer exchange of
            information through the media and outreach efforts would create more engagement and input from
            the public. There are questions that need to be posed to the school district; with increased
            transparency the public would take a greater stake in the process. For example, in the last ten years
            the budget for the school district has nearly doubled while the city‘s population has consistently
            declined. A more open process would allow such issues to become more public and discourse would
            not simply take place behind closed doors.

            As Mayor, it would be rash to dictate to the school district the transparency that is needed. However, I
            believe that we as a community, including educators, parents and City staff could rapidly generate the
            transparency that is required, including all stakeholders in the decisions made, thus achieving the
            accountability that is so crucial for success.
Nicoletti   I understand the importance of a quality education. To invest in our children is to invest in the future
            of our city. Providing a quality education goes beyond textbooks and computers, beyond chalkboards
            and chairs; beyond the physical artifacts of a classroom. What we must do, is strive to foster an
            environment, a community, in which the children of our city have all of the resources and support
            they need to achieve their dreams. We all want this, and I believe that with hard work and the
            expansion of our current programs, such as Say Yes to Education and the Westside Community
School Strategy, we are well on our way to achieving this goal. The one caveat to this worthy
endeavor is, as it always is, the question of finance. In order to provide the necessary funding for our
schools, we must examine possible sources of funding from a variety of perspectives.

President Obama has signaled plans to invest an unprecedented amount of resources in our country‘s
educational programs. Seizing the opportunity to direct these monies towards Syracuse will be an
important task for the new mayor. All federal and state aid allocated toward educational programs
must be closely scrutinized. We must aggressively compete for all federal and state aid monies
allocated towards educational programs and complementary services. This includes both operational
supports as well as capital investment. I would propose the reestablishment of the position of federal
and state aid coordinator that so effectively worked for the city in the past.

Second, it is critical that we begin discussions with Onondaga County to pave the way for an
equitable distribution of the next sales tax formula. As I discussed in my response to Navigating the
Financial Crisis, the current practice of looking only at taxable property for the purpose of
distributing sales tax does not take into account the disproportionate share of the larger community‘s
programs and institutions that exist within the city limits. When the agreement expires in 2010, we
must be prepared with more well thought out, equitable formula.

One of the main budgetary problems for the district is gauging the amount of funding it will receive
from the state. It is not uncommon for funding to be promised, only to be delayed, and slowly get
pushed farther and farther back. The funds promised in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit would
make a big difference in balancing the 2010 district budget, and allow the schools to sustain and grow
programs such as Say Yes, that raise student achievement and open new doors. I understand we must
make allowances given the state of the economy, but it is important that we not lose sight of or let slip
away funding that has already been explicitly promised.

In recent years, the city has adopted SyraStat, an innovative program that has helped city government
improve efficiencies across the board. As mayor, I would advocate for the inclusion of the School
District under SyraStat. (As well as a county-wide, graduated expansion of the program) Just like the
City, under SyraStat, the School District can expect significant savings through everything from more
targeted budgets to reductions in overtime and energy consumption.

There are several ways of assessing the effectiveness of these strategies. One, an examination of the
district‘s budget growth in relation to programs offered will supply an assessment of the efficiency
with which the funds have been utilized. Another is to compare the School District‘s amount spent
per student in a given year to the state average, the federal average, and most importantly, those of
equivalent urban areas. In addition, by including the district in SyraStat, we will be able to more
accurately and uniformly measure and record these standards.

Questions: Governance Model (limit to 3 pages)– Provide us with a vision for how the Mayor can play a more
integrated role with the Superintendent and Board of Education for the performance of the Syracuse City School District.
How do you avoid the contentious relationship that has often been present in the past as it relates to the funding of the
schools? What measures can we use to assess your success in advancing a new governance model?
Davis               My vision for providing adequate funding to schools, ensuring strict accountability measures, and
                    having appropriate assessment tools for effectiveness will come only after a thorough review of
                    where we are presently. So, my first objective in this process would be to evaluate our present

                   According to Mayor Matthew Driscoll‘s 2009 State of the City Address:
                            Half of the combined $624 million City and School District budget is

                                Funded through various State Aid payments.
                               Sources of State Aid payments are business & income taxes.

                               Locally generated revenues such as sales tax, fees on real estate transactions, interest on
                                bank deposits are sensitive to economic downturns.

                               Syracuse City School District budget constitutes more than half of all city spending.

                               The Mayor and Common Council are limited to providing a total budget ceiling and
                                levying the property taxes necessary to reach this amount.

                               Specifics of how money is spent are the responsibility of the Superintendent and the
                                Board of Education.

                   The dilemma that most municipalities are facing, as spelled out in the ―State of the City‖ Address is
                   that of large property tax increases or severe program and service cuts are needed in order to address
                   budget gaps. Because the City of Syracuse had a fund balance of $63 million in June 30, 2008, the
                   Mayor used that fund balance to freeze property tax rates.

                   The next Mayor will be confronted with the dilemma as to whether he or she should continue using
                   the fund balance in lieu or raising city and school property taxes or come up with other methods to
                   raise money for the schools. The other question that arises is how do your ensure strict accountability
                   measures and institute effective assessment tools when the Mayor and the Common Council only
                   provide the funds, and the Superintendent and the Board of Education determine their use? My
                   vision as Mayor would be to convene a Taskforce or Commission composed of the Mayor,
                   Superintendent of Schools, Members of the Board of Education, along with community residents and
                   organizations, elected State and Federal officials, etc., to explore solutions to resolve the problem. It
                   may require Charter revisions that would be put to a referendum on which the voting public will
                   weigh in. To achieve accountability, it will take the collaboration of all the stakeholders. As Mayor,
                   I envision convening such a Commission to address this problem. The Mayor, in collaboration with
                   the Common Council and Superintendent of Schools must engage the entire community in a dialogue
                   as to how this problem is best resolved. If legislation is necessary then the Board of Education and
                   the Common Council should act accordingly.

                   Once the City School District and the Mayor and Common Council have a mechanism for adequate
                   funding, the SyraStat Program, already in place, which includes a review of the performance of all
                   city departments, could be utilized and the SCSD would be added to this process whose keys are:
                             Development of measurable performance indicators tailored to a department‘s specific

                               Systematic collection of data to determine if performance is improving, deteriorating or
                                staying the same.

                               Creation of a hands-on review panel.

                   Other indicators, in regards to the Syracuse City School District, would be stats to indicate an
                   improvement in graduation rates, a decrease in truancy, and an increase in the diversity of staff and

Harlow     The Mayor will be more visible at Board meetings. The role of the mayor will be to forge a
           partnership with the school superintendent and the Board, to gain a greater understanding of the
           process of decision-making. Similar to the Joint Schools Construction Board, a committee would be
           formed made up of community members, teachers, parents, students, including the Mayor and
           Superintendent (co-chairs), to meet on a regular basis to keep open lines of communication about
           specific concerns and issues.

Jennings   Q: How do you avoid the contentious relationship that has often been present in the past as it relates
           to the funding of the schools?

           A: As Mayor, my administration will roll out a comprehensive strategic plan for the City of Syracuse
           to be utilized on all levels of city administration. The plan, which would include a vision statement,
           would guide all departments towards specific outcomes. I would require that the SCSD also have in
           place a strategic plan, which would be aligned with, and augment, the City‘s plan. Collaborating with
           the school district on developing solutions that are mutually beneficial can result in a paradigm shift
           in how both interests relate to each other. Although the school district‘s plan will address its specific
           policies and goals, it should also support broader goals identified in the city‘s plan, which are key
           components for advancing the City of Syracuse, and ultimately the school district.

           Q: What measures can we use to assess your success in advancing a new governance model?

           A: Solutions designed strictly for the greater good that put our students, families and taxpayers first.
           Coordinated efforts to create respective strategic master plans that are mutually beneficial, create an
           environment for continued collaboration between the city and the school district. This type of
           collaboration has been exemplified by a number of municipalities throughout the nation, including
           Boston, Denver, and Providence. And these efforts are strongly supported by the U.S. Conference of

           Politically, I would propose that the SCSD Board of Education move from elected seats city-wide, to
           district seats, ensuring true representation from all parts of the city. I would also propose that
           additional training and support be provided for the professional development of school board
           members. This would enhance their ability to make informed, reasonable policy decisions. To further
           improve the governing model currently used by the school board, I would propose moving away from
           the traditional governance model towards the policy governance model.

           (Q: What measures can we use to assess your success in advancing a new governance model?)

           A: The policy governance model is the creation of John Carver, Ph.D., president of Carver
           Governance Design, Inc. This groundbreaking model is designed to empower boards of directors to
           fulfill their obligation of accountability for the organizations they govern. It enables a board to focus
           on the larger issues, and demands accomplishment of purpose. In contrast to the approaches typically
           used by boards, Policy Governance separates issues of organizational purpose (ENDS) from all other
           organizational issues (MEANS), placing primary importance on those Ends. (1)

           Emphasizing key policies from both the City and SCDC comprehensive strategic plans can avoid the
           snares of micro-management and the minutia of day-today operations. Using the executive office of
           mayor will be an important tactic in the transformation of the SCSD, the City of Syracuse at large and
           the improved ability of both to work together.

           In addition, the office of the mayor will reach out to businesses that are located in the city to develop
           strong, lasting, strategic partnerships that are geared to address the vision, goals, and policies that
           make up the city‘s comprehensive strategic plan. For example, as recently noted in the Syracuse Post
           Standard, the West Genesee Central School District and C & S Companies have announced a
           collaboration that provides West Genesee students with scholarships, internship opportunities,
           specialized workshops, job shadowing experiences, and new technology in exchange for space within
           West Genesee schools for training for C & S Companies.

           The Vision Center, operated by Mercy Works, provides computer training, computers, tutoring,
           mentorship and internship opportunities for city students, through partnerships with local businesses
           that support the work of the Vision Center.

           By tapping into the wealth of available business resources in the city, county and region, coupled with
            the leverage provided by such programs as Say Yes to Education Syracuse, the SCDC can truly begin
            to take our city where it needs to go.

                 (1) From Carver Governance.com/mode.html
Kimatian    As Mayor I would undertake a direct relationship with of the Board of Education. I would restructure
            the Department of Education in a way that it was as responsive as a city department. I would meet
            regularly with the superintendent and the Board and weigh in on whether to undertake or continue
            certain programs. Having a background in negotiations, union representation and the law enables me
            to provide input to the Superintendent with respect to union collective bargaining agreements.

            Success in advancing a new governance model would be measured with regard to increase in
            attendance, graduation rates, college placements, job placement. In addition success would be
            measured in the growth of new schools, including magnet or charter schools, and in the renovation of
            the current schools that have been targeted by the JSCB for construction improvement and repair.
Miner       The contentious relationship between City government and the school district is perhaps the obstacle
            most familiar to the public. One reason for this strained partnership is timing. Historically, the Mayor
            has only been involved in the process when it is time to pass the budget. Additionally, newly elected
            members of the Board of Education begin serving in office towards the end of the budget cycle, yet
            they are asked to vote on the district‘s financial plan. These struggles over the budget create the most
            palpable tension between the two bodies. I believe a great deal of stress could be reduced if, as
            Mayor, I remained involved in the school district‘s planning and budgeting process year-round. I
            would arrange for joint informational meetings on the budget soon after the elections in November.

            As mentioned, I would instruct the City financial staff to work with their counterparts in the school
            district to prepare the budget and documents necessary for these informational meetings. Roles and
            responsibilities of each body would be reviewed and clarified. These meetings would determine how
            to best proceed in the future.

            The tension in this process stems for a mistrust among the Mayor, Common Council, Commissioners
            of Education, the Superintendent and the public. An increase in transparency would work to increase
            the confidence these groups have in one another, particularly the public. It is essential that the public
            feel connected to the process. In the past, the candidates for superintendent would hold community
            meetings to meet with parents, teachers, and community members. The candidates would also visit a
            number of the schools within the district. By involving both the public and educators in these
            decisions, there is a sense of ownership and participation. Unfortunately, the practice of encouraging
            the candidates to formally meet with the public is no longer in existence. These are the types of
            efforts that, if properly implemented, will ease the public‘s skepticism and mistrust. Otherwise,
            the perception that decisions are made behind closed doors with elected officials removed from the
            affected public will remain prevalent.
Nicoletti   I believe that the role of every mayor is not only to lead the city throughout his tenure, but to
            encourage and establish policies that will continue to improve the vitality of our city long after he or
            she has left office. The most important component in securing a bright future for Syracuse is
            investment in our children. Thus, it is important to foster a good relationship between the schools and
            the mayor‘s office. This relationship must reflect the tenants of all good relationships; mutual respect
            and open communication. In order to rise above the contentious relationship of year‘s past; the next
            mayor must have the vision to improve our schools and the temperament to examine the issues from
            multiple perspectives.

            Let us first examine the current situation. It is well known that communications gap exists between
            our city schools and city government. In order to achieve real progress, it is critical that the next
            mayor make closing these gaps a top priority. The Syracuse City School District is a massive
            institution in its own right, and redefining the city‘s relationship with it will be no small task.

            I must stress my firm belief that for the present, the school district should maintain itself as an entity
            separate from the City of Syracuse. Although I support consolidation efforts between the city and the
            school district, I believe that the best course of action in addressing the role of the mayor in relation to
            our schools is to cultivate a strong bond of trust and cooperation with the Superintendent and the
            Board of Education. I am aware of the growing trend within large cities (New York, Chicago, Boston,
            Baltimore, etc) in which district control has been ceded directly to the mayor‘s office. The primary
            catalysts for such shifts have been falling achievement and periods of pronounced dysfunction.
            Theoretically, granting the mayor direct control allows for swifter, strong-minded reforms and higher

test scores. However, reports of improvements are not conclusive. Mayoral control is still in an
experimental phase. I believe that here in Syracuse, the seizing of mayoral control and subsequent
replacement of a large portion of district leadership would only create chaos and further discord.

What I favor is the reestablishment of a solid relationship between city and schools. Should
conditions change, and at some point we begin moving in the direction of direct mayoral control, this
relationship will only help us in working together. Such a shift can only be done over time, and given
the financial condition we‘re in right now, it is critical that we move cautiously. If the day comes
when we move towards mayoral control, it has to be a decision in which all parties including the
taxpayers have an opportunity to participate. This convergence can only occur with cooperation,
transparency, and the building of mutual trust.

Though we all want what is best for the children of Syracuse, it is the people who work directly in the
schools and with the students that know what is truly needed to ensure success. That is why I believe
the next mayor must commit to regular meetings (monthly at minimum) with the superintendent and
school board members. These sessions will keep the lines of communication open, and provide a
forum with which to listen to and communicate any goals, needs, or problems as soon as they arise. I
can also tell you that as mayor I will make frequent, unscheduled visits to our schools to ascertain
their conditions and to talk to teachers and students. These frank conversations and mutual
commitments will build understanding and help to usher in a new era of trust, the establishment of
which will be invaluable as we cooperate more closely on upcoming projects.

Joint projects between the city and the district have long been focal points of friction. At this critical
tipping point, we can no longer afford the conflicts that stem from personal agendas and poor
communication. Instead, we must be honest, forthright and goal-oriented. In the coming term, there
will be many occasions for collaboration. We will be moving forward with the Joint City/School
Construction Board massive renovation projects, working to further develop community schools and
Say Yes, and lobbying for state and federal aid. These collaborations are opportunities to lay old
wounds to rest and strengthen the relationship anew.

Question: Community Schools (limit to 3 pages)- Do you agree that community schools are an important component
of education reform? If yes, how will you work to integrate Say Yes and the Westside Community School Strategy?
What financial and other resources will you ―bring to the table‖ in partnership with the Syracuse City School District and
the County to advance the community school concept? How will you ensure the effective integration of the Westside
Community School Strategy and Say Yes to Education? What measures can we use to assess your success in advancing
community schools?

Davis              Community schools, as proposed in the Westside Community School Strategy, are an important
                   educational reform that the Mayor Davis Administration would wholeheartedly embrace. According
                   to the proposal, ―The Westside Strategy targets the students and families attending five Westside
                   Schools that feed into Fowler High School—Bellevue, Delaware, Shea, Seymour and Blodgett. The
                   families come from the neediest section of the city with regard to several measures of community
                   well-being including dropout rates, unemployment, crime, housing.‖

                            The proposal continues, ―The long-term goal for Westside Strategy is to increase academic
                   performance at each of the six schools included in the strategy. The short-term goals are to begin to
                   make progress at each school regarding attendance, behavior, school climate, parent involvement, and
                   participation in student/family support programs.‖

                             The Commission, that I mentioned in questions # 1 and 2, would be the vehicle to integrate
                   the resources of the ―Say Yes to Education‖ program, which is district-wide, with the ―Westside
                   Community School Strategy‖. Since the Commission includes the Mayor, Superintendent,
                   Commissioners of Education, Community residents and organizations, etc., this group would be
                   uniquely anchored to access financial resources, especially since local, state and federal elected
                   officials are included as part of the Commission. After assessing the success of the schools a part of
                   the Westside Community School Strategy, schools from the east, north and south quadrants of the
                   Syracuse City School District could be included over a designated period of time. Since the funding
                   and the assessment of its effectiveness would be a joint project of the SCSD, SyraStat keys would be
                   the appropriate assessment tool, as well as the assessment tools already in place for ―Say Yes to
                   Education‖ Program‖ and the ―Westside Community School Strategy Project.‖
Harlow             I strongly agree that community schools are an important component of education reform, and
                   particularly of benefit to the City of Syracuse. Given the various economic, educational, and social
                   challenges facing many of our families and students, community schools that provide access to health
                   services, including dental and mental health services, and social/recreational activities beyond the
                   school day and school year are a necessity. Parents should have access to various educational
                   opportunities and health services in the school buildings as well, and schools should serve as the
                   cornerstone of the community.

                   The Westside Community School Strategy is already being absorbed under ―Say Yes‖, which is a
                   natural transition for the program, since the tenets of the Strategy are similar to ―Say Yes‖—support
                   and outreach for students and families in order to form greater connections between home and school.
                   Under my administration, ―Say Yes‖ will be fully supported and I will work closely with the
                   Superintendent, business owners, other policy makers, and the Chancellor to make it a reality for our
                   families and our community.

Jennings           Q: Do you agree that community schools are an important component of education reform? If yes,
                   how will you work to integrate Say Yes and the Westside Community School Strategy? What
                   financial and other resources will you ―bring to the table‖ in partnership with the Syracuse City
                   School District and the County to advance the community school concept? How will you ensure the
                   effective integration of the Westside Community School Strategy and Say Yes to Education? What
                   measures can we use to assess your success in advancing community schools?

                   Community schools are an important component of educational reform. And the structure of the
                   Syracuse Say Yes to Education program relies heavily upon the framework of community schools. It
                   is public knowledge that the Westside Community School Strategy is being absorbed into the Say Yes
                   to Education program. The benefits of this merger to each program should be positive.

                   According to The Coalition for Community Schools, a community school is both ―a place and a set of
                   partnerships between the school and other community resources.‖ Based on this definition, we must
                   question whether our current model is the most effective strategy for addressing the unique issues
           faced by the city of Syracuse. According to its website, Say Yes Syracuse will address two particular
           components: ―a K-12 comprehensive support program aligned with the key barriers to college access
           and the promise of free tuition, fees, and books for all participants.‖ Say Yes Syracuse will be a major
           component in the Jennings administration‘s community school initiative. But the
           administrative/managerial component will come from implementation of the City‘s comprehensive
           strategic plan.

Kimatian   Community schools are an important component of education reform and an important factor in
           building the City. Families will be more invested in their neighborhood if they are invested in their
           neighborhood school and vice versa. More importantly, I support a system that recognizes that there
           may be barriers in the home that get in the way of learning, and I applaud the efforts of the Westside
           Community Strategy and Say Yes for bringing professionals together from health, legal and
           educational communities to deal with children and their families in a holistic manner.

           The City must work with Say Yes and the Westside Community Strategy by helping these
           organizations connect with the city residences. While many in the education arena are sold on these
           programs, we need to market these programs to the residents of the City who need them. This may
           require a grass-roots campaign, knocking on the door and talking to each resident on how Say Yes
           and the Westside Community School Strategy can help them. It will be important to educate parents
           about these programs and even educate the students about the programs, given that, at times, siblings
           are often doing a portion of the parenting. Another source we should explore to bring resources to the
           Syracuse City School District is encouraging corporations to sponsor individual schools. While there
           is some corporate sponsorship of the schools, I would make sure that every school had a corporate
           sponsor. Sponsorship would not only entail funding and presence but would establish mentorships
           between the schools and those in the private sector and place students in internships and possibly jobs
           upon graduation.

           Needless to say, there are many programs in addition to Say Yes and the Westside Community
           School Strategy that are striving for the same thing: to engage students and to keep students in school
           and off the streets. We need a comprehensive assessment of all of these programs, and see how the
           District can either consolidate its energies and ideas or simply support the different programs.
           Measures to assess success in advancing community schools would include:

              Creation of a vocational technical school
              Higher enrollment. The school system should be a viable option for children of all economic-
              Graduation rates. We not only want to make sure that our students graduate with a high school
           diploma or equivalent but that they graduate with the skills-set to get a job.
              Retainment of our students. For example, we don‘t want to lose the highest achieving students to
              Success of programs such as Say-Yes to meet their goals.
              College-bound rates.
              Employment of graduates in the city of Syracuse.

           Further, I would make sure that the information and statistics regarding all of these issues were
           collected, analyzed and clearly made available to the public for review.
Miner      The Community Schools model is clearly an important component of educational reform, as
           demonstrated by the success of programs such as the Westside Community School Strategy.
           However, one of the most essential elements of success is consistency. As a school district, there
           appears to be an inability to define schools. Some are kindergarten through eighth grade, others are
           kindergarten through sixth grade, and yet others are kindergarten through fifth grade. Although
           promises were made several years ago that elementary schools would be unified into one set of
           classes, the disarray continues. The numerous changes in superintendents have caused even more
           change in policy. While change is good, a lack of consistent priorities, goals and the means of
           achieving those goals risks of doing our children a grave disservice. Initiatives such as the Westside
           Community School Strategy combine family members, committed community leaders and dedicated
           educators to work toward the best interest of the students.
            Say Yes to Education and the Westside Community School Strategy both help to build a strong
            educational foundation early in a child‘s life and have that foundation nurtured not only by teachers,
            but the entire community. In terms of what I as Mayor would ―bring to the table,‖ one need only look
            at my record as a city lawmaker. I committed $1 million to the Say Yes to Education program and
            lent my support in ensuring that no child is ever denied the opportunity for higher education simply
            because of finances. As Mayor I would play a much stronger role in making community schools a
            success by providing leadership, dedicating staff and their expertise where needed, as well as helping
            out in solving technological challenges.

            Unfortunately, nearly 50% of Syracuse‘s students are ineligible to take advantage of the Say Yes to
            Education initiative because they never graduate high school. Those are the students to whom we
            need to focus more of our energy and attention. What good is free tuition if the student never finishes
            high school? It is important that the Syracuse community realize that although free tuition is a
            wonderful thing, the other aspects of Say Yes to Education should not be ignored.

            The tutoring, after-school programs, legal services and social work are equally, if not more important,
            than the guaranteed tuition.

            As the challenges of urban youth continue to increase, we need to consider our students‘ lives in the
            larger sense, not just when they are within the walls of a school. As Mayor, I would strongly
            encourage the district consider policy changes that recognize the environments that our students
            inhabit and experience every day.

            We, as a community, need to claim a stake in the lives of these children, in terms of their lives at
            home, the conditions of their schools, and all that they experience in their early years. Advocating for
            a community school model that takes this broader view and seeking ways we can better utilize our
            school facilities for more comprehensive public service provision will be a priority in my
Nicoletti   I have been a longtime supporter of community schools, and fully support Syracuse 20/20‘s platform
            of promotion and expansion of both the Westside Community School Strategy and Say Yes to
            Education. The philosophy behind community schools recognizes that a good education is dependent
            on a healthy environment.

            The challenges within our school district are perhaps most apparent within the schools of the near
            west side. I commend the district for the implementation of the Westside Community School
            Strategy. The problems within our schools are not mere issues of poor resources and lack of academic
            rigor, but stem from a larger, community wide problem. In order for our students to succeed, we must
            enlist the entire community. The city itself must be a catalyst by ensuring that our children and
            families have the right to a quality education, a decent home and neighborhood and the opportunity to
            compete for a job.

            I applaud the Westside Community School Strategy not only for its holistic approach towards student
            success but for the self reflexivity contained within its structure. No matter the benevolence of intent,
            even the best programs can fail if they lack the capacity to adapt to the dynamic needs of their
            intended beneficiaries. The program is as comprehensive structurally as it is in its overall scope as
            well as its overall goals to provide excellent groundwork for the Say Yes to Education program.

            As the first district-wide Say Yes program in the country, the Syracuse City School District‘s
            partnership with Syracuse University provides unparalleled support to the committed students of our
            city. It serves as a motivational tool not just for our students, but for districts around the country. Say
            Yes brings down the economic barrier that hinders students who were born with the talents for
            success, but without the money to sustain it. Now, these students will thrive and enrich our
            community. I am proud to live in a city with the conscience and foresight to invest in such a program.

            As important and wonderful as the Say Yes program is, it is vital that we not forget the problems
            many in our district still face. The dropout rate in the City of Syracuse still hovers around fifty
            percent. When I talk to parents, teachers, and students, I hear again and again that many students do
            not want to continue on to college. For our non-college bound students, I propose we strengthen the
            technical programs offered within the city school district. Our city needs good carpenters, plumbers,
            and bricklayers just as much as it needs lawyers, doctors and teachers. We can improve graduation
            rates and strengthen our community by providing these students not only with the skills necessary to
achieve their high school diploma, but providing them with coursework that is relevant to the trade
they would like to pursue.

The expansion of these enriching programs hinges, as it always does, on the ability to obtain the
necessary funding. In order to ensure not just the academic, but the physical and emotional wellbeing
of our children, it is necessary to create innovative strategies to make the most of the funds available,
as well as state and federal aid.

One example of creativity in the face of budget constraints is the institution of the Parent/Child Basic
Learning Program, a program with proven successes in other areas of the country, the Rochester
School District has been able to provide extra opportunities for educational enrichment and increase
parental involvement. Part of the program involves a Parent Academy, in which the parents or
guardians of eligible children are familiarized with the basic concepts from the child‘s curriculum.
They then participate in hands-on activities with the children that reinforce both curriculum content
and the relationship between parent and child. Due to the adult education component of this program,
much of the funding for the Parent/Child Basic Learning Program is drawn from state adult education
monies. This non-traditional source of funding has allowed the program to flourish despite the severe
budgetary constraints of the Rochester Schools. Since one the main objectives of community schools
and the Westside Strategy is to involve family and members of the community in the lives of young
students, we may be able to obtain similar status and access another source of funds. Provided such an
endeavor is successful, I would push to expand it city-wide.

Bonus Question: Leadership

Leadership-Open Ended Question (limit to 3 pages): While we believe that all the questions listed above are important
to the governance of the city, the more intangible question regarding leadership is in many respects of paramount
importance. What is your definition of leadership? What is your general leadership philosophy? Name some specific
steps that you would take to build the trust necessary to govern Syracuse. List some focused efforts and projects that you
would like to complete within the first 180 days of your administration.

Harlow             The Mayor of Syracuse must have the courage, vision, ability to communicate and collaborate, and
                   the ability and willingness to guide and get things done. I would surround myself with staff who have
                   the same beliefs and hopes for the future of Syracuse, who will work with me to reach out to the
                   community and work toward identifying and articulating our vision and goals, and needs.

                   My first priority during the first 180 days would be to hire at least 250 people to work, full time, part
                   time, and seasonal, in a variety of positions and departments. Workers would represent all ages, all
                   backgrounds, from all parts of the City.

                   My other priorities would be recruiting and retaining businesses (i.e. groceries, restaurants, bowling
                   alley, services, etc.), putting more police officers on the streets (beats), working with the SCSD to
                   decrease the drop-out and truancy rate, increasing occupancy rate of vacant buildings/homes by 25%,
                   and providing high quality basic constituent services.

Jennings           The true test of a leader is not during times of success but how they deal with challenge and
                   controversy. I have faced both challenges and controversies through my life and even in those cases
                   where I may have decided incorrectly, I learned a great deal. The next Mayor of Syracuse will face a
                   multitude of challenges and be forced to make very controversial decisions.

                   I believe in leading by example, by doing, and by building consensus. I have a clear track record
                   using that formula successfully as the City Parks Commissioner for eight years with Clinton Square
                   one of our crowning achievements.

                   I believe a leader must have a vision, the strength and tenacity to carry it out, the wisdom to seek all
                   points of view regarding that vision and the humility to accept input even from opponents that help
                   make that vision better.

                   We are in the midst of dwindling resources and rising costs that are going to continue as long as we
                   have a declining population. We must reduce the cost of government and find a way to start growing
                   Syracuse again. One of our major problems is the declining number of young families willing to
                   move into the City. The major reason is the decline of the city‘s school system. My first priority is to
                   begin re-building the Syracuse City School District.

                   The Say-Yes Program is good but it only addresses one section of the school population. We must
                   help those students not on the college track with programs that provide real-world skills for viable
                   occupations in such professions as the building trades. We need a mentoring program to give our at-
                   risk young people a fighting chance at success so they‘re not mentored by a criminal element. We
                   have to help the children of single parents, YMED (Young Mothers Educational Development) must
                   be re-instated, and rebuilding schools like Blodgett cannot be put off until ―someday‖ because
                   Blodgett can be the centerpiece of a neighborhood revival.

                   Improvements in the education system will help us stimulate economic development by providing
                   both the trained workforce and the entrepreneurs to start the small businesses that we need.

                   When we show good faith that the education system will be restored then young, working families
                   will move into Syracuse and that in turn will help bring back our neighborhoods. The process for
                   renovating Blodgett School will start during the first 180 days of my administration.

                   As for development in general, we need a city construction manager, an office that works with
                   developers to make sure we‘re dealing with real developers, not bottom-feeders, and that follows
                   through to make sure that capital projects are completed. We need to go after the absentee landlords
           who are using our city as a tax write-off by leaving vacant storefronts and allowing buildings to
           deteriorate, but we must also support local developers who are trying to make good things happen.

           Like its position as the geographic crossroads of New York, Syracuse is at a crossroads. We can
           bemoan the state of the economy, the battering that local industry has taken, the demise of our
           cherished namesake manufacturers like Syracuse China or accept how the world has changed and use
           the advantages we blessed with to move forward.

           We are at the center of the state, at the intersection of two major interstates that are gateways to the
           north, south, east and west. We have freight and passenger rail service. We have an airport with
           international capabilities. We even have water access to the world.

           We have Syracuse University, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, LeMoyne
           College and a host of other great institutions of higher learning in Central New York. Good progress
           has been made working with these schools but so much more can be done to turn their world-
           renowned research into new jobs in a new economy.

Kimatian   As a business executive and lawyer over the last decades, I have studied great leaders, their words and
           actions – from Shakespeare‘s Henry V of England to our current Commander-in-Chief, Barack
           Obama. Leaders lead by the strength of their convictions and by the force of their personalities. A
           leader‘s words and actions resonate with those who follow. Take as an example, Henry V. At the
           battle of Agincourt, the rag-tag English forces were dramatically outnumbered by the highly skilled
           French army. On the night before the battle, Henry V rallied the troops giving them the courage and
           conviction that carried them to a victory. Leadership means just that – rallying, encouraging, getting
           people to awaken and take on the impossible, take on the dreams and change history together. I intend
           to do just that with the City of Syracuse – rally the citizens, encourage them to believe Syracuse can
           be a great urban center and together make it a reality.

           What is your general leadership philosophy?
           Over the years, as a community leader and business executive, I have led countless meetings,
           discussions and negotiations. For over the last fifteen years, I have started my meetings with a lesson
           from one of my favorite teaching books – Sun Tzu‘s The Art of War. Compiled over 2000 years ago
           by a Chinese-warrior-philosopher-leader, its teachings are as relevant now as they were then. The key
           tenets of leadership are succinctly expressed: ―Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness,
           humaneness, courage and sternness."
              Intelligence involves the ability to plan and to know when to change effectively.
              Trustworthiness means to make sure people understand reward or consequences.
              Humaneness means love and compassion for people, being aware of their toils.
              Courage means to seize opportunities to make certain of victory without vacillation.
              Sternness means to establish discipline in the ranks.

           While I am proud of the education that I have earned, intelligence is not about booksmarts
           but management-smarts – a sense of assessing a situation, articulating solutions and putting the
           solution into action. Creating a community of trustworthiness allows people to expand and think and
           take initiative. That is how I have run all of my companies and that is how I intend to run this City. It
           is equally important for the Mayor to have courage to stand up and do the right thing, make the right
           decision, even if that means disagreeing with certain special interest groups. The only groups I will be
           beholden to are the Syracuse taxpayers. For me, sternness is equated with discipline.

           The only way to revamp this City and to raise the bar is to approach the job of mayor with athletic
           discipline. This means working 24/7 to transform this city into one of the great urban centers of the
           United States.

           Finally, a great leader can only obtain real depth by upholding the noblest of the tenets – humaneness.
           As a general manager of a major television station in this City, I have spent my career building the
           type of news station that someone wants to invite into their home – the only way to do this is to
           embrace the people, their lives and what is important to them. It is this very thing I embarked to do
           with the television show, Sunday with Steve – engage the leaders of our community and bring them
           into your living room.
            Along the campaign trail, I continue to do what I love the most – talking to the people, listening to
            what is important in their lives, their issues and problems. But as the next mayor, I will not only listen
            but I will find solutions.

            Name some specific steps that you would take to build the trust necessary to govern

            I think it is important for the citizens to know that their leaders are listening to them and acting in
            their best interest. To this end, I intend to build a transparent administration, a glass house of visibility
            for the citizens to see exactly how their government is operating. Staff will be hired on merit. City
            contracts will be awarded to the most competitive. And I will welcome new blood and new brains in
            order to bring the best talent to Syracuse. The expectations will be clear to the city employees: work
            hard and be the best at what you do, speak your mind and be a voice of constructive criticism; work
            together to make Syracuse one of the great urban centers.

            List some focused efforts and projects that you would like to complete within the
            first 180 days of your administration.
            In the first 180 days I will complete the following:
               Review and reorganize departments.
               Get the Joint School Board Construction Project on track.
               Establish a clear path to attain Airport Authority.
               Establish concrete plans for business development and for bringing targeted businesses to the City.
               Together with law enforcement agencies, develop and implement plans for crime reduction.
               Work with neighborhoods to establish their key issues and action-plans.
               Re-sequence the lights downtown.
               Develop a digital infrastructure plan for city
Miner       See YouTube video


Nicoletti   No response


To top