This week, Albany mayor-elect Kathy Sheehan named leaders of a transition team formed to foster a smooth shift leading to her inauguration on New Year’s Day.
Sheehan's transition team is made up of four "co-chairs," people who represent the diverse characters of Albany’s neighborhoods, institutions, and history. The team is comprised of city historian and retired Assemblyman Jack McEneny, UAlbany President Bob Jones, former City Comptroller Nancy Burton and Kevin O’Connor, who recently retired as president and chief executive officer of FirstLight Fiber (formerly Tech Valley Communications). Sheehan says each committee member will play a specific role.
Some progressive Democrats view outgoing Mayor Jerry Jennings, who is leaving office after 20 years, and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy as members of what Sheehan calls “old school power structure” - but McCoy sees the changing of the guard as a positive one.
One transition team member may be perceived by the public as “old school.” He threw his support behind Sheehan early in her campaign, believing the city needed a fresh start: Jack McEneny once served longtime mayor Erastus Corning and unsuccessfully challenged Jennings in a 1997 primary.
Sheehan says she learned a lot from her five opponents in the race. Former candidate and community activist Marlon Anderson says he is open to collaborating with Sheehan and believes she will hold an "open door" when it comes to hearing from individual citizens.
The biggest challenge facing the new mayor and four-year city treasurer will involve keeping Albany fiscally healthy. Sheehan netted more than 80 percent of the vote, but critics point out that she got fewer than 13,000 votes out of approximately 39,000 registered Democrats.