Appointment Blizzard

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It’s been a veritable blizzard of appointments by Bob Duffy.

One of them was hardly unexpected – but still leads to a rather pointed question.

Darryl Porter was named an assistant to the mayor, and will likely be involved in coordinating school-related issues for the Duffy administration. Porter is currently the Rochester City School Board president. And during the course of the year, Porter ran for reelection to the City School Board.

In fact, you may remember that for a time Porter was considering his own run for mayor. But he decided against it, then Duffy announced and Porter got behind him early on.

Now, per Duffy’s wishes, Porter will have to step down from an elected position he won’t have even started. Then the City School Board will have to appoint a person to fill his seat. That new appointed school board member will have to run in a special election in November.

Of course voters could have had the option to choose a school board member this past November if Porter simply would have decided not to seek reelection.

So what does Porter now say to those who cast a vote for him to stay on the school board a few months ago?

That he can do even more for school children, for the community, as an assistant to the mayor.

"They know that I’ve given 100 percent, 110 percent to that job… and that I’ll keep doing that in this new job. I’m not going anywhere," Porter said.

Porter said that he plans to make his choice for a replacement known to all. We’ll see how the voters of the city accept this person in the coming months.

The changes have been vast at City Hall, a rather predictable eventuality. And Duffy makes clear that he hears the critics of his transition. Some have complained (including outgoing Mayor Bill Johnson) that he’s letting too much experience go out the door. So Duffy makes clear to point out the history of his appointees, and their experience in the community.

Like when he announced Tom Richards as corporation council. Richards was the former CEO of RG&E and back in 2003 was considered a potential candidate for county executive. Duffy lumped Richards together with incoming deputy mayor Patty Malgieri when he spoke about people who have a long history in the community.

The Richards appointment may have been the biggest surprise of the week for most.

Those who work at WXXI may have been equally interested in the appointment of a new communications director – Gary Walker. 

For the last three plus years, Walker was my boss at the station. When he called, I had to respond. Now… when I call (or anyone else from the local fourth estate calls) he (or his staff) that must reply. Things do shift in strange ways, don’t they?

That reminds me a photograph in Walker’s office. It’s one that was taken fairly recently at some television awards ceremony. He’s standing next to Jeanine Pirro.

Back then she was the apple of the Republican Party’s eye and the presumed next opponent for Hillary Clinton.

Who would have figured that months after the photo was taken both Walker and Pirro would be looking at two very new jobs. The only difference is that Walker’s shift is far more congenial than Pirro’s.