Duffy starts his move
The Duffy administration is starting to take shape --- by deletion, more than by addition, at this point.
Five senior City Hall administrators have been told that they won't have a job when the new mayor takes over in January:
• Community Development Commissioner Linda Stango;
• Economic Development Commissioner Fashun Ku;
• Corporation Counsel Linda Kingsley;
• Environmental Services Commissioner Ed Doherty;
• Human Resources Director Wendell Bellamy.
There'll be at least two senior holdovers: finance director Vincent Carfagna and budget director William Ansbrow.
Some of the deletions were predictable, given Mayor-elect Bob Duffy's comments during the campaign. Some in the business community have complained that City Hall's development offices have focused more on regulation than on fostering business. In an interview last summer, Duffy said he had heard those complaints.
"I want to be able to assemble one of the most business-friendly groups I can find," he said. "Whatever impediments there are that stop our growth, I intend to work through and eliminate very quickly. We're gonna roll out the red carpet for investors."
For City Hall's development staff, the changes are just the latest in a hard year. The replacement of both commissioners is compounded by the recent death of a key administrator, Deputy Commissioner Larry Stid, and the summer retirement of Linda Luxenberg, who has been housing and project-development director.
The news that Duffy would not retain Doherty, however, surprised --- and angered --- some at City Hall. Doherty is a 30-year veteran who has been highly respected by members of City Council.
On Friday, Duffy transition team leader Robert Warshaw declined to discuss any of the personnel moves. "We are very respectful of people's privacy and people's right to pursue other things," he said, and he declined to say when Duffy will announce his own appointments.
Will all of the vacancies be filled by January 1? "That's what we strive for," said Warshaw, who, like Duffy, is a former Rochester police chief. "But using myself as an example: I was sworn in in May 1994," five months after Mayor Bill Johnson took office."
Under new management
There'll be another changing of the guard for Monroe County Democrats, this time in the party's contingent in the CountyLegislature.
Carla Palumbo will take over the difficult and often unrewarding job of minority leader for the 12-member Democratic caucus come January, succeeding Stephanie Aldersley. Calvin Lee, a veteran legislator, and newcomer Harry Bronson will be her deputies. Palumbo will also have the task of finding somebody to head the office's small staff; Justin Wilcox, staff director under Aldersley, recently accepted a job with Party Chair and State Assemblymember Joe Morelle.
Although no one has expressed dissatisfaction with Aldersley's leadership, the party hasn't made any strides in taking back the majority in the body, one of the key responsibilities that comes with that position. Palumbo will face that challenge with the benefit of a fresh and energetic crop of newcomers (many of whom supported her bid for leadership), but she'll also miss the decades of collective experience that's leaving the Lej with the Dems' term-limited veterans.
Box office numbers
Maybe there's a magic number for film festivals: while they cater to different markets, Rochester's two big fall movie festivals both hit the same number for ticket sales this year.
ImageOut --- Rochester's Lesbian & Gay Video & Film Festival, held in October --- celebrated its 13th year with slightly more than 7500 tickets sold. Festival organizers gave away nearly 400 tickets as part of their outreach (for people who can't afford tickets) and youth programs. (www.imageout.org)
The HighFalls Film Festival --- dedicated to women in film --- followed in November and also sold about 7500 tickets, matching the record attendance of 2003. (www.highfallsfilmfestival.com)
And what do famous people do in Rochester? While here for HFFF, Christine Lahti and Diane Ladd both toured the Susan B. Anthony House. Jane Alexander dined at Park Avenue Pub and the Riverview Café. Angela Bassett could be seen at parties at Edibles and Artisan Works, and more than one festival guest ate at the Dinosaur.
In town to be honored at ImageOut, drag star-actor-writer Charles Busch also ate at Edibles (a group of local drag queens, hearing about the dinner, were seated at a nearby table), and he toured the George Eastman House Film Archive and Geva Theatre's backstage. ImageOut filmmaker Brian Sloan visited two landmarks: the Pittsford Wegmans and Betty Meyers' Bullwinkle Café.