via Poughkeepsie Journal, 1/13/2012
Sarah Fuller, Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik’s girlfriend, thought they should set up for 400 people; the mayor thought 300. Sarah was right.
And the standing-room-only crowd for the swearing-in ceremony of Poughkeepsie’s mayor and Common Council enjoyed an oddly apolitical, optimistic day.Straight-shooting Tom O’Neill, Poughkeepsie’s Planning Board chairman, kept things moving along with a lively touch of grandeur as the master of ceremonies.
Dutchess’ brand-new county executive, Marc Molinaro, delivered a brief, upbeat welcome, assuring city officials that they had a “partner in county government.”
Then Judge Frank Mora, who told of his previous night’s dream of forgetting his judicial robes, swore in each Common Council member, including new Council Chairwoman Gwen Johnson, accompanied by their families (and there were some very big families!) and finally his friend, the mayor.
In his inclusive speech, Tkazyik captured the spirit of the day, saying “clean and safe streets are not a partisan issue.”
So who was in this large bipartisan crowd?
Well, there were plenty of amiable judges, including Republican County Court Judge Peter Forman, and Family Court Judge Joan Posner, a Democrat.
There also were lawyers galore.
This included the congenitally open-minded, politically conservative Jim Nelson and his law partner, Cindy Rosensweig, whose charisma emanates from the fact she actually listens to people.
You also had efficient, easy-to-approach officials, like City Administrator Michael Long, Police Chief Ron Knapp and city Commissioner of Finance Milo Bunyi, circulating around the room.
Looking cool in his signature black-and-white shoes, you couldn’t miss community-organizing impresario John Flowers.
It was also fun to see Brian Doyle of Family Services Inc., Hudson River Housing’s Ed Murphy — both new executive directors — as well as the inspiring human service worker Anthony Lucky and Rabbi Neal Lovinger of Temple Beth-El.
There were even a few teenagers present.
Along with her encyclopedic mind, Mary Kaye Dolan, acting commissioner of Services for Aging, Veterans and Youth, showed up with two of her stepchildren, Gregory Anderson, 19, and his sister Margaret, 17. Maria Rosa, the principal court attorney in Dutchess County Supreme Court, was accompanied by her wide-eyed 12-year-old twins, Laura and Tess.
But it was the courageous presence of people who lost the recent elections, including Ivonne Flowers, an Independent, Republican Lee Klein and Democrat Ken Levinson, that embodied the gatherings most important lesson: Our community is more important than our politics.
Peter Leonard’s column appears every other Friday. He is the director of field work at Vassar College. Reach him at 845-437-5280 or firstname.lastname@example.org.