Maggie Brooks has been a fixture in county government for two decades, acting as Monroe County executive for the last 12 years and before that, county clerk. But in just a couple of months, term limits will force her from office.
But Brooks says she isn't going away — and no one expects her to scour online job listings or beg friends for references. County scandals have tarnished her legacy somewhat, but Brooks is still a political star.
Brooks says she's looking at a few opportunities in both the public and private sectors, and there's speculation that she could follow the lead of some other Republicans and go to the Monroe County Water Authority. But most of the chatter has Brooks taking over as head of the RGRTA. And the idea isn't far-fetched.
A few weeks ago, WHAM radio host Bob Lonsberry tweeted that the RGRTA board took a vote on whether to fire Bill Carpenter, the transit agency's CEO. It appears, however, that no official vote was held, but that the board may have taken a straw vote behind the scenes.
The word is that though the board doesn't currently have the votes to oust Carpenter, it may try to reach a deal with the CEO that has Carpenter out by the end of the year.
The motive reportedly isn't political; some board members are apparently unhappy with Carpenter's leadership style. They're particularly upset that he didn't consult the board before declaring that the agency wouldn't renew the city school district's busing contract. (The agency and the Rochester school board eventually agreed to a deal that extends the busing for one year.)
And pending turnover on the RGRTA board could also result in Carpenter's exit. Several board members' terms have expired, and the County Legislature approved a list of candidates for the four seats it appoints in January. Only one currently serves on the board and the other two are officials in the Brooks administration.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Senate haven't signed-off on the candidates yet, but they could take action this year if the Senate returns for a special session.
But either way, if Carpenter is out, rumors say, then Brooks is in.
And there's one other factor feeding the story: Brooks' government pension. She's not 62 yet so she'd get hit with a substantial penalty if she starts drawing on her pension after she leaves the exec's office.
But if she works at another government job for a couple of years, she might be able to increase the amount she draws. Government pensions are based on years of employment and final average salary. (The RGRTA CEO position pays more than Monroe County executive).