Kennedy nears anniversary

Mayor Judith Flanagan-Kennedy

In the one year Mayor Judith Flanagan-Kennedy has served, city hall remains essentially the same as does the tax rate and the general outlook.

What has changed is more a matter of style than anything else.

Flanagan-Kennedy is a very different type of person from the man she replaced, former mayor Chip Clancy.

And so, her mayoralty is vastly different than his was in approach.

Clancy started the day extremely early everyday. He remained in the mayor’s office for hours returning calls, making calls, meeting people seeking something from him. Clancy was an A-type person – a bit hyper, dead set about what he felt he had to do, and getting on with it in a very orderly fashion everyday.

Flanagan-Kennedy is not Chip Clancy nor is she trying to be.

She is her own person, for better or worse, and takes the approach that she is the boss and can do as she pleases, and for the most part, does exactly that.

She is not up early like Clancy was. She doesn’t keep hours like he did. She quite often does not return calls – the most prevalent criticism heard regarding the mayor coming from the bulk of her colleagues in government.

She inherited the city government at a terrible moment in time, while one of the worst recessions in the nation’s history had taken hold of the economy.

And she came into office brilliantly, winning a great victory over the longtime mayor – and doing it with a sticker campaign to begin with.

Expectations were high when she came.

Expectations remain high after one year.

Clancy relied upon his executive secretary Jamie Marsh but not to the extent that Flanagan-Kennedy makes use of Claire Cavanaugh.

Some people who look closely at the goings on inside city hall make the claim that Cavanaugh is the de facto mayor.

This probably comes from the closeness the two share and the trust they share as well.

Flanagan-Kennedy tends to react to motions coming out of the city council chamber rather than simply supporting them.

In doing so, she often pits herself against some city councillors who accuse her of being a busybody, instead of simply doing the right thing.

As year one morphs into year two of her administration, she will be dealing with the same stark reality every mayor and town government is facing in the coming year – huge cuts in state aid and supplemental funding for programs.

With the state anticipating a $2 billion shortfall in revenues, the expectation is that the city will be hard hit.

Like Clancy before her, she will find the need to do a juggling act when it comes to the city’s finances.

That will be her true test in the year to come.

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