Hugh Reynolds: Inaugural messages

I may be old-fashioned, but I like the pomp and circumstance of inaugurals, especially when new players strut to the stage. Inaugurals herald not only change but also continuity, a passing of the mantle.

Sometimes it’s fun, too.

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein was installed for a second term with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Supreme Court Appellate Justice Mike Kavanagh doing the honors. Across the river, first-term Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro went for star power, enlisting “the voice of god” — actor James Earl Jones, a Dutchess resident — to administer the oath. Schumer was also at the Dutchess festivities.

In Ulster, much was made (again) of Hein being the county’s first executive. Cringe-worthy comparisons with George Washington from the first Hein inaugural in 2009 were regurgitated. The voice of god was with them in spirit, as evidenced by friendly jousting.


“You’re no James Earl Jones,” Hein quipped as Kavanagh prepared to administer the oath.

“And you’re no George Washington,” the judge kidded back.

“I do have better teeth,” said the executive, getting the last laugh.

At Kingston’s City Hall, an overflow crowd was treated to trips down memory lane as new mayor Shayne Gallo, his voice breaking, remembered his father, former alderman-at-large T. Robert “Bobby” Gallo, and his brother, the late former mayor T.R. Gallo. The new 52-year-old chief executive recalled the time his father brought him to a Common Council meeting, where the 9-year-old future mayor promptly dozed off. The Freeman headline said something like “Alderman-at-large puts son to sleep.” Forty-three years later, the kid returned the favor.

Children were very much in evidence at the mayoral inaugural. Precocious Parker Ball, 8-year-old daughter of city Judge Larry Ball and Alderwoman Elisa Ball, may have taken more photos with her cellphone than city photographer laureate Phyllis McCabe.

Judge Ball administered the oath to council members, in the process becoming the first judge officially to kiss an alderman. And it wasn’t Bob Senor.

Loquacious Assemblyman Kevin Cahill got off one of the better one-liners of the day in commenting on Gallo’s five-minute inaugural address. “Ah, brevity,” he said. “He’s already accomplished something in office I could never achieve.”

Freshman Alderman Matt Dunn and wife Zoe are expecting their first child in mid-May, right around Mother’s Day. Talk about new beginnings!


Signature, please

Barely in time for the New Year, Ulster County’s Board of Elections has compiled the write-in votes from the November elections. Normally, few care about write-ins, except the signatories, save for last year, when there were a lot of them.