I cannot think of a more bitter relationship in Saratoga Spring politics than the enmity that existed between Tom McTygue (D) and Skip Scirocco (R). In 2007 Scirocco defeated McTygue to become the Commissioner of Public Works. That began his fourteen years (so far) as Commissioner. He also defeated Tom McTygue’s brother, Bill, in an equally acrimonious campaign. To say that there was no love lost between Tom and Skip would be an extreme understatement.
Yet at the final meeting of the previous administration in December, Commissioner Scirocco announced that the upcoming twentieth anniversary of the carousel in Congress Park would be marked by a ceremony honoring McTygue for his role in establishing the ride in our park. The carousel will be named for Tom McTygue and a plaque will be installed acknowledging McTygue’s role in its creation.
Scirocco told the Council that he had contacted McTygue who expressed appreciation for the honor.
At the time when McTygue announced his plans for the carousel to be placed in Congress Park, it produced an extreme, negative response from preservationists and many others in the community who thought the Olmstead designed park was not the appropriate site for the carousel.
For those of us who were around during the years of conflict between the McTygues and Scirocco, Scirocco’s gesture and McTygue’s response was a welcome and reassuring change from partisan acrimony.
Commissioner Michele Madigan and Mayor Scott Johnson
Similarly, the relationship between Commissioner Madigan (D) and Mayor Johnson(R) was not warm and fuzzy. Mayor Johnson, who never lost his cool, demonstrated an unfortunate skill in pressing Commissioner Madigan’s buttons.
All the more pleasantly surprising when Commissioner Madigan, as one of her last gestures in office, proposed naming the city’s Recreation Center after Johnson.
As with the carousel, there was a great deal of pushback when Johnson advocated placing the proposed center near Jefferson Terrace. The more affluent neighbors strongly opposed it. Then Public Works Commissioner Tom McTygue wanted to build it out near the Weibel Avenue ice rink and landfill.
Johnson was insistent that it be constructed in the neighborhood by the Jefferson Terrace Housing Project. He emphasized the need for it to be accessible to children walking and on bikes. His perseverance paid off and the project has been an enormous success. Here is a link to a Gazette story about Johnson and the center.