Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / News / Employment / Process to find Duffy’s replacement begins

Process to find Duffy’s replacement begins

Robert Duffy, left, and Andrew Cuomo, right, wait to be introduced at a campaign stop in Buffalo on Monday. Associated Press

The day after Mayor Robert Duffy was elected as New York’s lieutenant governor, city officials announced a public hearing for input on his replacement.

However, Duffy said Wednesday that he plans to stay in office until the first of the year, when he’s sworn into his new office.

“I love my job, I love this city. I love what I do,” Duffy said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Duffy is the Democratic running mate of governor-elect Andrew Cuomo; the tandem won in a landslide Tuesday. Duffy was greeted at the airport upon his return to Rochester on Wednesday morning by a crowd of Cuomo-Duffy supporters.

Duffy said he understands that the transition to his new role as lieutenant governor will be intense, but he plans to keep working as mayor until his first term is up on Dec. 31.

The mayor is in the first year of his second four-year term and city officials are left with having to make a plan to replace him.

There are two options, said City Council President Lovely A. Warren, both of which require action within 30 days of when Duffy leaves office Jan. 1.

The first option to replace him would be an appointment. The appointee would hold the position until the next general election in November and would require a primary in September.

The other option for the City Council would be to hold a special election. The special election must be held 90 days after Duffy leaves office, Warren said, and does not require a primary.’

Duffy said he plans on publicly supporting a candidate, but wants to wait until he knows who is officially running. 

The advantage of the special election is that person would finish the remaining three years of Duffy’s term, which would offer stability to City Hall, Warren said.

“We have a great team in place,” she said. “It’s part of the reason you want to get stability. You don’t want people to feel stagnant. You don’t want people to look for other jobs. You want to keep projects going.”

In the meantime, the city will be lead by Thomas Richards, the city’s corporation counsel, who replaced Patty Malgieri last week as deputy mayor. Malgieri stepped down for a new job as president of Hillside Family of Agencies’ Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection.

Richards said the transition will happen quickly, but the city has been preparing.

“It’s not as quick a change as you think. We’ve known about this for quite some time,” he said “My plans are to do what I’m asked to do.”

Richards is still working as corporation counsel, a position in which he oversees large projects, like the new PAETEC corporate headquarters Downtown.

He’s handled other large projects as well, such as the demolition of Midtown Plaza and the sale of the high-speed ferry.

Richards said he’s dealing with the possibility of taking over as mayor and dealing with his current job.

He said he hasn’t made up his mind if he’s going to run for the office. Though Richards did recently register as a Democrat after previously being registered for no party.

“I have a commitment to this place, and I certainly don’t want the Duffy agenda to unravel” he said. “Either way, I have a job to do.”

The forum on how the City Council should handle the mayor’s replacement will be held at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 30 Church St.

Advance sign-up for those wishing to speak at the public forum is not required, however, it is available.  Persons wishing to speak about the mayoral succession process may have their names placed on a list by calling the City Council Office at 428-7538.  For those that do not pre-register to speak, sign-up sheets will be available.  Speakers will be called in the order in which they sign up.