Supreme Court Justice certifies Fusco as official winner of Rome Mayor Race; Mayor Brown issues statement
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - One month after election day, the Rome Mayor's race comes to an official end in an Oneida County Courtroom on Wednesday.
State Supreme Court Justice Bernadette Clark denied Rome Mayor James Brown's petition for a recount, making conservative candidate, Joseph Fusco the official winner of that race.
Brown's attorney questioned the integrity of some ballots that were cast, but the judge said that, even if every ballot that Brown questioned went in his favor, it was a virtual mathematical certainty that it wouldn't sway the outcome of the race.
Fusco said he is relieved and anxious to get on with the transition.
"It's slowed the process down of transitioning and that type of thing, but other than that, we're up and running," Fusco said. "I've got people in place, I've been talking to folks, we're ready to go."
Only 81 votes had separated the two candidates.
Brown was not at Wednesday's proceeding, but issued the following statement Thursday morning:
"I wish the incoming administration well. I said from Day One I was running for mayor because of my love of this community and its residents. I will continue, in whatever capacity, to try to continue to help to move this city forward.
"I have already met with department heads and directed them to assist Joe Fusco and his transition team to the best of their abilities. I have great respect for the office of mayor and the voters, and it is now time for this community to come together again and move ahead.
"The people of this community have been supportive of me and I am grateful for the opportunity to have served them for the past eight years. When I first ran for office, I pledged to change the culture of city government, to be responsive first and foremost to the taxpayers of the City of Rome, and to run this operation like a successful business. I am proud that we have been successful in all three areas. It hasn't been easy. We made many tough decision, but at the end of the day, we've not just made it through some very difficult times but positioned ourselves well for the future.
"Although, [my decisions] rubbed some people the wrong way, no decision we've ever made was personal. Everything we did, and I mean everything, was done to improve our organization, to streamline and become more efficient and to keep costs as low as possible for the people who pay bills - the taxpayers. It is impossible to run a business - any business - and make everyone happy all of the time.
"I am proud of the team we assembled from the senior staff, to the department heads to the rank and file of each and every department. In the end, we made many significant accomplishments that we can all be proud of, from economic and commercial development, increased tax rolls, tax stabilization, cleaning up blight and decay, and empowering community organizations. I am proud of these accomplishments but even more so, because we accomplished these things together; it was a total team effort.
"For me personally, the past year has been very difficult. My family has lost two incredible and dynamic women, and their loss is still difficult and painful. The losses were compounded not just by the demands of the office, but also the added demands of running a campaign.
"I am tremendously grateful to those people who supported me during the past year. Your thoughtfulness, compassion, dedication and support were profound and inspiring. To the dozens of volunteers who worked tirelessly on my campaign, I cannot thank you enough."