Duffy and the Non-Partisan Potholes

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Hey, Bob Duffy.

Was that a Republican we saw you appoint to your administration on Thursday? I think the last time there was a Republican in City Hall was, what, Lonesome Charlie (scroll down for this entry). Or maybe Steve May?

Anyway, I’m referring to this new appointee, Paul Holahan. He’s your new commissioner of environmental services. He replaces a guy who has been in city government since the 1970s – the venerable Ed Doherty.

Oh, there were some hurt feelings among some in City Hall when you swept out the old. But frankly, anyone who was paying attention during the campaign should have realized that you were going to overhaul the city staff.

Anyway… I’m looking at this resume for Paul Holahan. He worked for Greece town government for years – that bastion of Republican politics. He worked for the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, a place run by Don Riley, a former Republican town supervisor from Greece.

His last job was in Irondequoit. In the fall of 2004, Republican Supervisor David Schantz called his new public works commissioner an experienced and well seasoned management professional (check out page 2).

And now, here he is… in the Democratic bastion of Rochester.

How could it be Mr. Duffy? Bob Warshaw, your transition coordinator, said that Holahan’s party affiliation is "an irrelevent fact."

"There is no such thing as a Republican or a Democrat pothole," Warshaw said. I guess that if I had been paying attention during the campaign I would have realized that you would be reaching across boundaries and lines – even those political.

But here’s the real interesting thing… Irondequoit is going through its own transition. A Democrat, Mary Ellen Heyman, has led a Democratic takeover of town government, ousting Schantz in the  process. (We’ll have more on that transition soon).

Heyman said that she gave Holahan the chance to remain on in Irondequoit. He clearly turned that down.

"I’m disappointed," Heyman said. "But I’m not surprised he chose a different opportunity."

So who knows – maybe Paul Holahan simply sees this as a chance for a fresh start. Maybe he finds you, Mr. Duffy, a more acceptable Democrat. Maybe, as your staff has said, he could care less about all that party stuff.

It is interesting, however.

Oh, you want to know something else that’s interesting? You know who is advising Irondequoit’s incoming supervisor – Mary Ellen Heyman – on the transition? Ed Doherty… the venerable guy that Paul Holahan is replacing.

It’s enough to make your head spin.

And let’s not even get into the fact that you named a former aide to Rudy Giuliani as your deputy chief of staff. But, hey, there are no Republican lunch meetings or Democrat lunch meetings, right?