The new year brought a pair of new leaders to Cayuga County government, and now both officials are looking to revolutionize how it operates.
Cayuga County Administrator J. Justin Woods and Legislative Chairman Patrick Mahunik discussed their operational vision for the county at the Wednesday Morning Roundtable progam in Auburn. Woods was sworn into office in December and Mahunik was named chairman of the Legislature in January.
On Wednesday, Woods and Mahunik addressed the “blurred lines” that had previously developed between the executive and legislative positions and the importance of clearly defining their roles in the county. As county administrator, Woods said he is in charge of the day-to-day operations and appointed department heads while Mahunik manages the elected department heads and legislators. Mahunik also works full time as the principal of Dryden High School, which — according to roundtable moderator Guy Cosentino — brings a different dynamic to the position. In the past, Cosentino said, the legislative chairs have been retirees or self-employed.
“There truly was blurred lines of leadership and people didn’t know where to go,” Mahunik said, noting that past communication often funneled through the chair rather than the administrator. “We need to let the administrator do their job.”