Dan McCoy, a Democrat, is Albany County's fourth county executive. He was born, raised and resides in Albany, where he has worked as a public servant his entire professional career. McCoy recently sat down with WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas to talk about his broader role as a community leader.
"One of the things I learned as County Executive, is that a lot of people in the county kinda forgot what we did. A lot of people refer back to remembering the first county executive who was Jim Coyne, and they remember his style and bein' out there and since then we fell off the radar. Our budget is 600 million dollars. We run over 22 departments. We have a variety of different ways we're involved in every community from early intervention, probation, to mental health, to health from CYS to DSSS. These are different things that we do in the community. And I'd go out... when I became County Executive I said I really want to hear back from the people, so I went on a listening tour my first year in office. And I went to every neighborhood association that wanted to hear me. I went to every city, town, village that wanted to hear from me and I wanted to hear from the people. And they were just amazed at how much stuff we really do in their community, cause we’ve been like a silent partner so we stepped it up a little bit."
When McCoy was elected in 2011, he inherited a series of challenges, particularly what to do with the troubled county nursing home. "In the early 70's we got into the nursing home business... over the years it's transformed so much, the laws have changes, health care is changing, the way we bill has changed, and we have to keep up with the times. Unfortunately we haven't. We have a population of seniors in Albany County that over 60 thousand seniors over the age of 60. They're living longer, they wanna stay home and they want more care at their house, which is cheaper at the end of the day, so when I transitioned from the legislature into the county executive's office, I knew the demands that the legislature wanted, some of the things we argued over the years with my predecessor, and I came up with a plan. I said, 'Look, we can for the first time, not only protect the seniors but protect the taxpayers and accept responsibility."
And as the debate over the fate of the nursing home continues, it seems people are more confident that the issue is moving forward as opposed to being stuck in political mud, as was the perception for many years. "We started to look at everything differently. Revamping departments. Consolidation of departments in general. One of the thing that was kind of a controversy, I hired two investigators. We started to review contracts and we found out we were paying for contracts that no longer were in place, that the services weren't there. So we started to save money, and we started to save money."
McCoy has also been vocal about city of Albany residents’ concerns over those "oil trains" and their proximity to downtown neighborhoods. McCoy made national headlines when he imposed a moratorium on oil company expansion at the Port of Albany. "It was hearing what everyone was saying. It was the same story. Federal government. Federal government regulate it. The governor can't do nothin.' No one can do anything but the Federal government. So I looked at it from a different point of view. I looked at it from a health and safety standpoint. We looked at our sanitation codes. We looked at our charter. And I said 'We're gonna do a moratorium.' And there's people that definitely didn't want me to make the noise. And I go 'No, it’s about the people."
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy’s third “State of the County” tour continues at Colonie Village Hall July 1st. The tour was designed to provide an opportunity for the County Executive to talk directly with residents in area municipalities about issues that are impacting them and to provide a brief update on county initiatives. Remaining dates for the tour:
- Colonie Village Hall, Tuesday, July 1 @ 10 a.m.
- Town of Guilderland Board Meeting, Tuesday, July 1 @ 7:30 p.m.
- City of Watervliet Senior Center, Thursday, July 17 @ 7 p.m.
- Hilltowns- Berne Town Hall, Saturday, July 19 @ 9 a.m.
- Village of Green Island Board Meeting, Monday, July 21 @ 5:30 pm
- Voorheesville Village Hall, Tuesday, July 22 @ 7 p.m.
- Town of New Scotland Board Meeting, Wednesday, August 13 @ 7 p.m.
Dan McCoy was a firefighter and EMT for the Albany County Airport and the City of Albany and is currently a member of the New York National Guard where he has earned the rank of Sergeant 1st class. Dan was deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006 and most recently aided in the disaster relief following Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
Dan was sworn into office on January 1, 2012 after serving twelve years as a County Legislator. McCoy knows not everyone can get downtown to share what’s on their mind or is comfortable talking at a village, town or city board meeting. That’s why he is taking his office on the road to each municipality in the next few months. He has scheduled office hours that are convenient and close so residents have an opportunity to talk to him about any issues on their minds.
The County Executive’s office hours schedule:
- Watervliet Senior Center, Monday, June 30 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., 1541 Broadway, Watervliet Senior Center, Watervliet 12189
- New Scotland Town Hall, Tuesday, July 8 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., 2029 New Scotland Rd., Slingerlands 12159
- Town of Colonie, The Crossings, Community Room, Wednesday, July 9 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., 580 Albany Shaker Rd, Albany 12211
- Altamont Free Library, Thursday, July 10 4 p.m. - 6 p.m., 179 Main St., Altamont 12009
- Knox Town Hall, Tuesday, July 15 7 p.m. - 8 p.m., 2192 Berne-Altamont Road, Knox 12107
- Voorheesville Village Hall, Wednesday, July 16 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., 29 Voorheesville Ave., Voorheesville 12186
- Berne Town Hall, Saturday, July 19 9 a.m. - noon, 1656 Helderberg Trail, Berne 12023
- Rensselaerville offices, Wednesday, July 23 7 p.m. – 8 p.m., 87 Barger Road, Medusa 12120
- Colonie Village Hall, Thursday, July 24 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., 2 Thunder Road, Colonie 12205