ORISKANY — He may not be the new man in town, but he is the new man in charge.
During village elections held last month, life-time resident Clifford O’Connor was elected mayor, following the retirement of former Mayor Donald F. Rothdiener, who spent a 30-year career in the office.
For O’Connor, serving the Village of Oriskany is “in his blood,” he laughed.
“I’ve been here all my life,” he said.
His grandfather had once served on the village board, and his mother, Mary Lou O’Connor, was the long-time village clerk.
“My grandfather was on the board in the late 60s — early 70s,” O’Connor said. “I was just a kid at the time.”
O’Connor himself isn’t new to village government. He spent 20 years — from 1984 to 2004 — serving as village trustee. But even when not serving as trustee, O’Connor said he remained “in the loop” during his tenure as highway superintendent, a title he served the last 5-6 years of his career. Previously he had served the Whitestown Highway Department for 24 years before coming to Oriskany. He worked for the Oriskany Highway Department a total 11 years.
O’Connor “partially” retired on Dec. 30, 2015, and has since worked part-time doing buildings and grounds work at Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome.
As mayor, the village will face the proposal to build a new firehouse to sit on donated property of the old Waterbury Square felt mill.
“We’re also talking about bringing back the Memorial Day Parade,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor has two grown daughters and five grandchildren. His one daughter, Amy Mayo, serves as president of the Oriskany Central School Board of Education.