City of Rochester
(Friday, Jan. 1, 2010) – Mayor Robert J. Duffy began has second term as Mayor of the City of Rochester today by taking the oath of office and delivering an inauguration speech that signaled his intent to consolidate the services provided by the City government and the Rochester City School District.
“Now is the time to halt decades of failure and low graduation rates,” Mayor Duffy said during his address, given at City Hall. “Our priorities need to shift away from special interests and focus on what should be our number one priority – the children. Our educational system needs to be held accountable.”
Calling New Year’s Day a work day, Mayor Duffy began his second term by pledging to uphold the Federal and State Constitutions and faithfully discharge the duties of his office. Mayor Duffy’s father, Neil Duffy, administered the oath of office.
Mayor Duffy said he was pleased with the accomplishments of his first term, calling them the components of a “solid foundation” that will help him and his administration take the city to an even higher level in the next four years. He noted those accomplishments fell along three areas of primary concern – Public Safety, Education and Economic Development with a strong focus on Customer Service.
On Public Safety, he cited trends that show major crimes in Rochester are at their lowest level in 25 years and murders in 2009 fell to their lowest level in 10 years. On Economic Development, he highlighted such developments as the near completion of the ESL headquarters in downtown and the progress underway at the former Midtown Plaza, where more than 200 workers are preparing the site for a major development that will transform the Center City.
On Education, he pointed to the establishment of literacy and anti-truancy programs to target the fundamental building blocks of learning. He also noted the Summer of Opportunity and the Providing Real Incentives to Maintain Employment (PRIME) programs as new means to help children and young adults gain job skills in a real-world environment.
On Customer Service, Mayor Duffy credited the “311 – One Call to City Hall” operation for giving citizens a direct means to unscramble the City’s bureaucracy. And he credited the new Department of Neighborhood and Business Development for delivering services directly to city neighborhoods, where customers live and work.
Mayor Duffy said he is looking forward to his second term and thanked all those who helped him build a solid foundation for the city’s future.
But he said Rochester will never reach its full potential unless the City provides its children with “educational excellence,” adding that is why he is proposing a consolidation with the Rochester City School District with Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard still in place at the helm of the schools.
“Governance of our schools is not a decision that any of us should take lightly,” Mayor Duffy said. “But, after seeing the link between the failure of our educational system and crime and the declining population, I can truly say that the time has come to do something different with our schools. We cannot afford to lose another generation of children to educational failure. We cannot afford to see young kids dropout and turn to a life of selling drugs, joining gangs and eventually turning to violent crime.”
Mayor Duffy predicted that special interest groups and the “select few” who benefit from the status quo will wage fierce opposition to his proposal. He said he will need help in the fight against those interests.
“I am asking that we all come together and use our talents and resources to make the tough decisions that must be made,” he said. “We have laid a solid foundation on which we will continue to build for our future. But that future won’t happen without a fight. And this is a fight worth taking on. We are moving in the right direction and we cannot stop now. I ask for your support and to join me in this most important fight.”
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