|Gerald David Jennings|
|74th Mayor of Albany, New York|
January 1, 1994 – December 31, 2013
|Preceded by||Thomas Michael Whalen III|
|Succeeded by||Kathy Sheehan|
July 31, 1948 |
Albany, New York
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Alma mater||SUNY Brockport, UAlbany|
Gerald Jennings often goes by the name Jerry. Born in North Albany he began his career in the Albany City School District after graduating from SUNY Brockport and the University at Albany (M.S. '76) and served for 13 years on the Albany Common Council representing the 11th Ward.
Jennings won a shocking upset in the 1993 Democratic mayoral primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic city—over Harold Joyce, who had the Democratic Party’s formal endorsement and had only recently been its chairman. In 1993, he won the general election, becoming the 74th mayor of Albany.
In a break from his party, Jennings endorsed George Pataki, a Republican, in the 2002 New York gubernatorial race. The mayor has also supported now-former U.S. Representative John E. Sweeney (R-Clifton Park). Jennings has been a strong proponent of the plan to build a convention center in downtown Albany. He hosts a call-in radio show on WGDJ every Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. He did not run for reelection and retired as mayor in 2013.
Mayor Jennings is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition was co-chaired by the late former Boston mayor Tom Menino and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Beginning in 2002, the Albany Police Department endured a scandal regarding illicitly purchased machine guns.
Parking ticket scandal
In November 2008, local media reported that for 15 years the Albany Police Department has engaged in an unapproved effort to avoid parking fines. It was alleged that an unofficial, secret system resulted in "zero fine" tickets being issued to an unknown number of local drivers who either had special windshield decals or were on VIP lists. Both the New York State Comptroller's Office and the Albany Common Council investigated the practice, and the Albany Times Union made a request under the Freedom of Information Law to obtain more information about it. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's audit faulted the city for "lax oversight that allowed at least two informal systems for skirting parking fines to flourish." In November 2009, Jennings denied that he knew of any abuses in regard to parking tickets, and also directed that the issuance of no-fine tickets be ceased.
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Albany has a strong-mayor form of government in which the city legislature (the Common Council) can vote on the budget, but a two-thirds majority is needed to override any disagreement with the Mayor. Albany's 2008 budget of $161.8 million was criticized for significant borrowing from reserves to bring it into balance. In 2007, the Common Council voted 9-6 to support the mayor's budget, although no cost-cutting measures were proposed or adopted.
In the 2006 primary, Jennings was voted out of his position on the New York State Democratic Committee by state Assemblyman John McEneny. The mayor had served on the committee since 2002. This race was a rematch of the 1997 primary, when McEneny unsuccessfully challenged Jennings for the Democratic mayoral nomination.
2009 reelection effort
The Albany Times Union reported on November 25, 2008, that the mayor would seek re-election for a fifth term in 2009. The story noted that "Safety in the city, with its youth violence and gun crimes, continues to mar Jennings' leadership and Albany's image." Jennings' opponent for the Democratic primary, Albany Common Council member Corey Ellis, announced his candidacy on March 2, 2009. (Common Council President Shawn Morris was originally also a candidate, but she dropped out over the summer.) Jennings won the primary, held on September 15, 2009, and went on to defeat Republican Nathan Lebron on November 3 in the general election.
2005 election for Mayor of Albany
- Gerald D. Jennings (D) (inc.), 68.6%
- Alice Green (G), 24.8%
- Joseph P. Sullivan (R), 6.5%
2006 election for New York State Democratic Committee 
- John McEneny, 6,346
- Gerald D. Jennings, 5,589
2009 Democratic Primary for Mayor of Albany
- Gerald D. Jennings, 7,615
- Corey Ellis, 5,971
- Gerald D. Jennings, 10,466
- Corey Ellis, 4,801
- Nathan LeBron 1,178
- Talk 1300 Radio Hosts
- "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members".
- "Jennings claims victory in Democratic primary". Albany Times Union. September 16, 2009.
- "2009 General Election Results" (PDF). Albany County Board of Elections. November 3, 2009. p. 171. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
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Thomas Michael Whalen III
|Mayor of Albany, New York