Thomas Michael Whalen III

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Thomas Michael Whalen III, also known as Thomas M. Whalen III, and more simply, Tom Whalen, (1934–2002) was a three-term mayor of Albany, New York.[1] A native of Albany, he was an attorney.[1] He graduated from Manhattan College and Albany Law School.[1]

Whalen had served as a city court judge from 1969 to 1975. In 1981, as part of Erastus Corning's "Team for the Future", he was elected as President of the Albany Common Council.[1] His election to the Common Council's Presidency, done with the full support of then Mayor Erastus Corning, set the stage for Whalen's takeover of City Hall.

After Mayor Corning's 1983 death in Boston, and in accordance with Albany's charter, Whalen, as Common Council President, became Mayor.[1] At the time of his ascendacy to office, New York State Comptroller Ned Regan was preparing to impose a Financial Control Board over the City of Albany. Whalen quickly set about establishing proper financial controls so that Albany could maintain control over its own finances. By all accounts he was successful.

He was a delegate to the 1984 Democratic National Convention.[2] He was mayor during the city's year long Tricentennial celebration,[3] which included a restoration of the carillon of Albany City Hall.[4]

He was elected on his own in 1985 and re-elected in 1989.[1] He retired from public office on December 31, 1993, and, after an unsuccessful nomination to the federal bench, he returned to the practice of law.[1] He died in a car accident at the age of 68.[1]


Whalen is credited with leading a broad revitalization of both the City of Albany and the Capital District through the 1980s and into the early 1990s. His tenure is noted for its focus on prudent financial and civil service reform, opening up city hall, and using the arts and the city park system as a catalyst for growth.[5]

Whalen was involved in improving the City's image both domestically and worldwide. In 1991, he founded the Albany-Tula Alliance with Tula, then a city in the U.S.S.R., now Russia.[6][7][8]

The City was designated an "All-American City" under his leadership, attained the highest possible bond rating from Moody's and hosted many successful downtown cultural events.[citation needed]

The Irish internship program at the New York State Assembly is named in his honor.[9][10] This started after Whalen joined the staff at University College Cork in 2000, and he decided to found an internship program for that college's students to go to the College of Saint Rose for experiential education in Albany.[10] Sadly, he died in 2002 just as the first "Irish Interns" were set to arrive in Albany.[10]

Whalen is still remembered for his political opposition to the preservation of the pine barrens on the outskirts of Albany, which he wanted developed.[11]

Whalen was eulogized at Albany Law, his alma mater.[12] An award is granted by the Neighborhood Resource Center in his honor.[13] The "Thomas M. Whalen III Foundation for Cultural Arts" was founded in honor by friends and family.[14] A memorial statue of him can be found in downtown Albany's Tricentennial Park.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Eric Pace, "Thomas M. Whalen III, 68, Three-Term Mayor of Albany," New York Times, March 8, 2002, found at New York Times Obituary. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  3. ^ NY Courts government website. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  4. ^ History of the Albany Carillon. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  5. ^ "Mayor Whalen showed a special interest in all of the City of Albany's Parks," from Washington Park Conservancy website, citing US Mayors website. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  6. ^ Albany-Tula Alliance website. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  7. ^ Association of Schools of Public Health website. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  8. ^ University of Albany website. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  9. ^ New York State Assembly website and Internship brochure (Pdf). Accessed February 18, 2009.
  10. ^ a b c Latest News, University College Cork website. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  11. ^ Brian Nearing, "Nature preservers: For 30 years, Save the Pine Bush has fought for ancient barrens," Albany Times-Union, March 30, 2008, found at Save the Pine Bush website. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  12. ^ Matthew H. Mataraso, "Remembering the Honorable Thomas M. Whalen III, " Albany Law Review, Fall, 2002, found at Find articles website. See also website. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  13. ^ Pine Hills Neighborhood Association website. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  14. ^ Community Foundation for the Capital Region website. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  15. ^ "Statue of former mayor unveiled. (2005-05-05), Capital News 9, accessed 2006-04-19. (Link may be dead as of February 18, 2009.)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Erastus Corning II
Mayor of Albany, New York
1983 – 1993
Succeeded by
Gerald Jennings