Hints, Winks and Nods

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The season of transition has had many silly moments.

None more funny than during Mayor Bill Johnson’s press conference last week announcing the financial plan to keep the Rochester ferry service alive.

Questions came at Johnson about whether his successor, Bob Duffy, supported the idea of city-backed borrowing to the tune of as much as $11.5 million for the ferry service.

"I don’t want to put words in his mouth," said Johnson about Duffy. Then he pointed to the back of the room and said that one of Duffy’s "staff workers" was there – and that we could pose the question to her.

The woman in the back of the room was Patty Malgieri, sitting on a folding chair in the atrium of City Hall behind the reporters, a sheaf of papers on her lap.

I turned around and asked: "You’re a staffer?" "No, no," she said with a smile. "I’m just an observer."

A day later, Bob Duffy held a press conference of his own to announce a new appointment – Patty Malgieri as deputy mayor.

Hey, who can argue against the inevitable appointees acting coy until the new boss makes it official. Molly Clifford, the former Democratic Party chair and manager of Duffy’s campaign, has been long rumored to be getting some kind of high-level appointment. Ask her about it and the best she’ll give you is: "I don’t know the answer."

And I know that Mayor Bill Johnson has been lamenting the fact that Duffy hasn’t worked fast enough and that he hasn’t kept on more of his appointees.

The speed issue could be something to quibble with. But its hard to take the outgoing mayor as seriously on the idea of keeping on veteran managers. Some of the people that Duffy is letting leave have been around since the Tom Ryan years. The change was necessary.

But enough of the serious stuff. I’m sure we will have more of these silly, awkward moments in the waning days of this transition time.

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