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The new team on the Civic Center's 14th floor

Bill Fisher settling in as Deputy County Executive

The modern Jamesville Penitentiary, the Onondaga County Central Library in the Galleries, the Convention Center in the Oncenter complex, the Justice Center, the new ballpark. All deals closed by Ed Kochian, often over coffee on weekend mornings at a corner table a block north of his office in the Civic Center, in his role as Deputy County Executive. Over 28 years in that role, Kochian served as point person for all three County Executives since that position was created in 1962.

Under former County Executive Nick Pirro, along with the county's former Chief Financial Officer Joe Mareane, Kochian helped keep the county solvent and its credit rating enviable. When he announced he would be retiring at the end of July, current County Executive Joanie Mahoney asked Kochian to promise to remain only a phone call away. When he did leave, he left a note on the door leading from Mahoney's office to his, "I strongly advise you keep this door locked until the new guy passes muster."

The new guy is Bill Fisher, who served as treasurer of Mahoney's campaign and director of her transition team. A graduate of Yale and SU's Maxwell School, in 1991 he founded a software company, which grew to do business internationally. An Onondaga County native, he is a former political writer for the Syracuse New Times. As we head into Fall, Mahoney and Fisher sat down for an interview focusing on the challenges posed by the economy on the county budget process.

With the budget and the sales tax and health care and unions looking like a rugged road, what's the good news for the county?

Mahoney: That's a tough question to ask me right now.

What are you proudest of?

Mahoney: That's quick. I'm proud of the turnaround on the lake, and the efforts we're making with environmentally-friendly solutions. We have accomplished a lot in the last year and a half. That comes quickly to mind, but we've done a lot of things here that I am proud of. We had to do more with less as soon as we got here.

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