Newsmakers: New legislature chairman, Onondaga County Executive talk about forced partnership, plans for 2022

Newsmakers

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Clay-area Legislator Jim Rowley expects “an interesting two years” as he takes over as Chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature.

Building an unexpected coalition of six Democrats and three Republicans, Rowley had enough votes to unseat favorite Dave Knapp in early January at the first session of the newly elected legislature. 

In an interview with NewsChannel 9’s Andrew Donovan on Newsmakers, Rowley said feeling mistreated by past leadership encouraged him to run. He felt past Chairman Dave Knapp wasn’t open to his concerns and took too much direction from Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.

Rowley said, “I work for county legislators. I don’t take direction from the county executive. I don’t take direction from my party. I hope, we get to a point, where, as a legislature, we’re talking more, we’re debating issues more. We’re more open. We’re more transparent.”

McMahon also joined Newsmakers to talk about how the unlikely partners will work together.

He says he’s willing to improve some of his tactics working with the legislative body.

“I think, overall, communication can always improve,” McMahon said. “We utilize the traditional manner of where you communicate with leadership meetings. It seems that in both political caucuses, some of the communication didn’t get down to the rank-and-file members. Part of this though, Andrew, is very political. You had the minority party essentially looking to create chaos and they did.”

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