Four out of five respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll approve of Mayor Thomas Richards’ handling of economic development as well as his overall performance on the job.
Richards was elected in a March 2011 special election called by City Council after Robert Duffy resigned as mayor to become lieutenant governor.
Since taking office, he has faced a number of challenges, including a $50 million gap in the 2011-12 budget and a $40 million gap this year, the uncertainty at Midtown created by Windstream Corp.’s acquisition of Paetec Holding Corp., ongoing problems with city schools’ performance and the Occupy Rochester encampment.
Forty-two percent of readers strongly approve of his overall performance, with 41 percent more saying they approve. This compares with 15 percent who disapprove and 5 percent who strongly disapprove.
When the same questions were asked in December 2006 about Duffy’s first year as Rochester mayor, 91 percent voiced approval of his overall performance, compared with 9 percent who disapproved. An equal percentage approved of Duffy’s performance in economic development.
Nearly 600 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted March 26 and 27.
What is your opinion of Mayor Thomas Richards’ performance in the area of economic development?
Strongly approve: 37%
Strongly disapprove: 5%
What is your opinion of Mayor Thomas Richards’ overall performance?
Strongly approve: 42%
Strongly disapprove: 4%
Every citizen of Rochester should be grateful for this talented man’s commitment to public service.
-J.P. Gleason, Gleason Fund Raising Consultants
He has been a steady and very competent hand on the tiller during what we thought might be a time of political turmoil. Additionally, his administrative skills-with his addition of Mr. (Leonard) Redon to the team-and his financial skills are the perfect match for what we needed.
-Alan Ziegler, RABEF
Smart, charming, personable fellow; so far so good as Mister Mayor. Occupy Rochester movement particularly well handled, and public comment on the budget also a refreshing change. Too soon to tell for the long term. Heck, I thought he was doing a great job at RG&E at this point; then he sold the place!
-Duane Piede, North Coast Energy Associates
Mayor Richards has hardly "thundered on the scene" but is clearly a competent individual doing a good job in a tough situation.
Mayor Richards deserves much admiration and respect for postponing a comfortable retirement to serve the citizens of Rochester. He is, in my opinion, more dedicated to the betterment of the city than to his own future political aspirations-a refreshing and admirable trait!
-Tom Shea, Thomas P. Shea Agency Inc.
Richards may be an excellent deal maker, but he does not have a strong public persona. People want to have hope for the future, yet Rochester is dealing with more challenges than it has ever faced before. What the city needs now is a charismatic personality to drive it to succeed.
-Brian Kane, Three Lakes Consulting
I think he is doing a good job at making some tough choices. We don’t have the budget to do everything; we have to make choices that represent the voice of the majority and are best for the city.
The Greater Rochester community is very fortunate to have Tom as mayor. His only interest is the success of Rochester as a strong, viable city. His practical and business approach is unique in government. His commitment is apparent, with no personal motives other than to do good.
All cities should have a mayor with a business background.
It’s nice having a mayor who explains things without a lot of political speak.
-Peter Pape, the Riverside Group
3/30/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.