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Mahoney picks DeSiato for transition team

Onondaga County Executive-elect Joanie Mahoney recently formed six new task forces to aid in her transition to office come January. At a Nov. 20 press conference, she announced the key members of this transition team, among them, Dr. Donna DeSiato, superintendent of the East Syracuse-Minoa School District. DeSiato will chair the eight-member social services/education group.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to gather great ideas and bring them forth to County Executive-elect Mahoney and be able to begin a new year," DeSiato said during the Nov. 20 announcement. "I think it's a terrific opportunity to build on a strong foundation and to look at what the challenges are but also to embrace the opportunities collectively."

The groups, due to disband by the end of December, were formed to take a look at the broad areas Mahoney identified in her Opportunity Agenda -- or campaign guide -- and generate ideas that can be viewed as options and opportunities going forward. The categories include economic development, government modernization, intergovernmental affairs, community revitalization and social services/education.

Ann Rooney, former city budget director and Salvation Army's chief financial officer, will act as the liaison between the transition team and Mahoney. Each chairperson has agreed to return a detailed report to Mahoney on Dec. 21.

"They've been given a very short window of time," Mahoney said. "But I think you'll find that the individual members of each of the task forces, is an equally impressive group of people and familiar with the subject matter that they're being asked to prepare those options for."

DeSiato did not indicate exact issues that will be addressed because "specifics will come from a team of individuals," she said. However, she did touch on the importance of embracing the region for both educational and social service matters.

Next week will be her first meeting with Rooney. From there, DeSiato will collect the concepts provided by the task force members, ultimately putting together a final draft for Mahoney's undertaking.

"They are a broad group of individuals who come from various experiences in these areas of both social services and education," DeSiato said. "I'll be looking to them for their ideas, and we'll be taking them and developing a report for Dec. 21."

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