Republican Senator Jim Alesi still will not say how he would vote on mayoral control legislation for Rochester, should it come to the Senate floor. But he did elaborate on his thoughts in a phone conversation this afternoon.
Alesi said that stability is his major concern. Thanks to Mayor Bob Duffy's bid for lieutenant governor, Rochester is facing the possibility of having three different mayors between January 2011 and November 2013. He'd feel more at ease, Alesi said, if he had an idea of who would take Duffy's place. It'd be a "huge enterprise" to run the city as well as the school district, he said. The district alone has a $700 million budget and more than $1 billion in facilities, he said.
"Because Duffy is leaving, it wouldn't be a bad thing to take half-a-step back," Alesi said.
Alesi also said that school district residents ought to have a voice in whether to eliminate the school board, which echoes the position of Senator Joe Robach. Under the mayoral control system, appointed advisory boards would replace the elected school board.
As for Alesi's "yes" votes for New York City's mayoral control system, he said that the proposal was vetted for two years before the Legislature passed it. And Mayor Michael Bloomberg committed to staying on board and seeing the change through, even going as far as to push to eliminate term limits, Alesi said.
Alesi's election opponent, Democrat Mary Wilmot, today released a statement criticizing Alesi for not directly stating his position. Wilmot said she supports the mayoral control bill.