Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco Has Died: Saratogians Remember Him

I know that I am not alone in being greatly saddened by the death this week of Public Works Commissioner Skip Scirocco.

Skip Scirocco dedicated his life to serving the people of Saratoga Springs. A quiet spoken man, he served on some very contentious City Councils, and yet through all the years, I never heard him raise his voice. In an age of extreme partisanship, Skip, a registered Republican, enjoyed the affection and respect of his Democratic colleagues.

Skip was obviously not in politics for the money. He made a whopping $14,500.00 a year as Commissioner. He did it because he loved his city.

Skip also loved his music. His popular band Skippy and the Pistons played at many Saratoga Springs High School events back in the day as Matt Jones recalls in his piece below. In later years the band delighted Saratogians of all ages by occasionally performing at events in the summer in Congress Park.

Matt Jones

Matt Jones is an attorney with a long history in the city. His father Ellsworth Jones served as Mayor of Saratoga Springs.

Skip Scirocco was a rock star…literally, a rock star.  Although he was a few years ahead of us at Saratoga High, virtually everyone in the class of ’72 knew him and the band that he founded called Skippy and the Pistons.  That band performed at many, many high school events during our school years and even at a few of our class reunions.  All of us will remember him for the joy he gave to us many years ago at our high school dances.

Skip was among the most affable people I have ever met.  Invariably, he greeted us with a strong handshake and a big smile. He was the same unpretentious person whether you were talking to him while he was working on one of his vintage cars or addressing him as Commissioner of Public Works at a City Council meetings.  He made you feel comfortable and welcome; a gift that made him beloved in the community.

We are holding our 50th high school reunion in a few weeks and during that weekend we will be raising a glass to our long-time friend who enriched our lives with the music he gave us a long time ago.

Matt Jones

Skip never indulged in keeping enemies.

He was independent of political influence from either party.

I remember him most for his leadership in opposing the establishment of casino gambling in Saratoga Springs. He was way out in front of his colleagues. The Mayor and other Council members waffled on the issue for weeks until Skip insisted on bringing a resolution to the table that was forthrightly against the expansion. This led to a Council vote that killed the plan.

He was also a fierce supporter of the city’s greenbelt. He opposed every proposal that potentially compromised the rural character of the outer district.

Skip was also passionate about preserving the city’s historic landmarks. This is a link to a very moving history of Skip Scirocco’s work with the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. It highlights images of his work with the Foundation and it includes some nice videos of Skip. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to watch it.

Samantha Bosshart

Ms. Bosshart is the executive director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation.

We lost a great friend to preservation with the passing of Skip.  I started at the Foundation the same year that Skip was elected to office, 2008.

During his tenure, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation recognized many preservation projects that the City of Saratoga Springs completed under his leadership.   Projects recognized with Preservation Recognition Awards include the restoration of the stairs and lions at City Hall; the restoration of the roof of Drink Hall; the restoration of the sidewalk, stairs, and dogs at the Canfield Casino; the restoration of the Deer Park Spring; the restoration of the Katrina Trask Gateway in Congress Park; the restoration of the ceiling of the ballroom at the Canfield Casino; and the rehabilitation of City Hall following the damage from the lightning strike.  This year I was looking forward to recognizing his efforts in the restoration of the Civil War Monument in Congress Park and the parlor of the Canfield Casino. It won’t be the same without him there to accept the awards.   

Of all the projects, I am most grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know Skip best by working with him on the four-year restoration project of the Spirit of Life and Spencer Trask Memorial in Congress Park, a joint project between the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation and the City of Saratoga Springs.  We both took great pride in the success of that special project.  

Skip made a lasting impact by preserving the historic architecture and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs for future generations. He was a wonderful friend to the Foundation and will be greatly missed.

Thank you for asking for me to provide a comment.  I’m honored that you thought of me.  I considered Skip a friend.

Samantha Bosshart

Executive Director

Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation

Tom McTygue Remembers

Skip became Public Works Commissioner after defeating Tom McTygue in a contentious election in 2007. McTygue, a Democrat, had served as Public Works Commissioner for over 30 years. Last year Skip announced his plan to name the carousel in Congress Park after McTygue who had spearheaded the campaign for the city to buy the carousel and locate it in Congress Park.

I spoke to Tom about Skip’s death. Tom told me he had talked to Skip several weeks ago when he learned of his diagnosis of cancer. Tom had warm praise for him.

He worked hard at a very difficult job and he had tremendous accomplishments. God bless him and his family.

Thomas McTygue

Eddie Miller

Eddie Miller, former chair of the local Independence Party, ran against Skip twice and lost. In spite of this, Skip hired him to work for his department. Eddie had the following to say about Skip.

City Hall, The Dept. of Public Works, and the City of Saratoga Springs took a big hit today with the passing of Commissioner Anthony (Skip)Scirocco.

He possessed a certain flair for running his department with precision and a strong knack for managerial proficiency. 

Commissioner Scirocco was also a knowledgeable and strong voice on the City Council for 15 years.

Besides being a devoted family man, he was a great neighbor and friend.

I’m going to miss him.

Eddie Miller

Tom Denny

Tom Denny has led the Sustainable Saratoga tree planting program for a number of years and worked closely with Commissioner Scirocco. Here he speaks on his own behalf and not as a representative of Sustainable Saratoga.

Skip was a calming presence on the City Council and an independent and influential commissioner.  From my time on the Comp Plan Review Committee, I will always remember his courageous defense of the Greenbelt and sustainability, when he opposed a large golf resort expansion in the Greenbelt.  His opposition to the Casino was decisive in the Council’s deliberations.  I worked closely with him on urban forestry issues and he deserves great credit for professionalizing that area by establishing the position of City Arborist. 

Tom Denny

Tony Izzo

Tony has been the city’s Attorney or Assistant Attorney for some thirty-five years and worked with Skip during the many positions he held with the city.

John:

I worked with Skip for many years and through all the offices he held with the city. From his earlier years as animal control officer, through his terms as a County Supervisor and finally as Commissioner, I always saw him bring the utmost dedication and commitment to the city he loved.

A good man and an invaluable colleague.

Tony Izzo

Tom Lewis

I was party chair in the last century (1990-2001) and asked Skip to become a member of Saratoga Springs Republican Committee in early 1996. In 1997 he successfully challenged long term sitting Supervisor Fred McNeary, and after an endorsement won a seat on the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, where he served with distinction for 8 years.  It was no surprise that he was then able to earn being our Public Works Commissioner.

I can enthusiastically say that Skip was one of the most modest and selfless of elected officials I ever knew. It was never “about him.” He just got the job done, efficiently without ever boasting about how good he was. He exemplifies service over self.

Tom Lewis

Commissioner Scirocco’s Colleagues in the Last Administration

Meg Kelly (Mayor)

Words will never take away the grief I feel from the loss of my dear friend and colleague DPW Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco.  He was truly one of the greatest mentors, friends, leaders, and dedicated servants to the City of Saratoga Springs and its residents.

Skip was a man who truly loved Saratoga Springs and invested his time, energy, passion, and love into preserving our beautiful history and keeping Saratoga Springs as beautiful as it is.  From the Casino Improvements to the Katrina Trask Staircase to the City Hall Renovations, he gave everything he had to preserve our history and keep everything so picturesque.

Through my time in City Hall, I am proud to have called him my friend.  His passing is a great loss to the City and my love, support, and condolences go to his family.  I will always carry with me his sense of humor and his ability to always find the positive in any situation.

Meg Kelly

John Franck (Commissioner of Accounts)

John,

I had the great honor of working with Skip on the City Council for 14 years (2008-2021).  I always found Skip to be non-partisan and an advocate for the little guy.  The City Council Meetings are typically contentious and chaotic, but I always found Skip to be the calmness in the Storm, which I can tell you first hand is very difficult to be.  When I was young my Mom used to always instill in me that everyone is replaceable, but it’s clear to me she never met Skip.

Respectfully,

John Franck

John Franck

Robin Dalton (Public Safety)

I am heartbroken over the loss of my friend Skip. His smile, his laugh, his love for this city, I don’t think I will ever walk into City Hall and not look down the hall expecting to see him. Even when we said our goodbyes, he was still the one reassuring me with his wisdom and advice and his peace and happiness for the wonderful life he lead. Corrine, Mark and everyone in your family and the DPW family, I love you all, thank you for the gift of Skip and everything he did for our city.

Robin Dalton

Michelle Madigan (Finance)

Skip and I often worked together in a bipartisan manner and as a result accomplished much together during my 10 years on the council. He ran a big department responsible for water, sewer, streets, facilities, and the beautification of our city. He has very big shoes to fill. His crowning achievement and he had many, was the beautiful renovations completed on city hall following the lightening strike. He was also a devoted and loving family man.

I’m gonna miss him!

Michele Madigan

15 thoughts on “Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco Has Died: Saratogians Remember Him”

  1. I will remember Skip for his civility and decency even or maybe especially in the face of challenge and difficulties. He knew what he valued and he stood by those yet without vitriol or judgment. Personally, regardless of my role in the city he was kind, friendly and respectful. I grew to be quite fond of Skip and despite my recent move from Saratoga Springs, I have stayed in touch with his lovely wife Corinne. I prayed for him in his illness and now send those prayer to his beloved family. May the many, many wonderful memories and sharing be of comfort to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Didn’t know Skip well but the few interactions I had with him were always pleasant and cordial. He did appear as others have pointed out to be fairly non partisan and interested in the overall good for the community. I wish I could have seen his band perform, feel like I missed out on a piece of Saratoga Springs history. As far as his role on the council It appeared to me that he helped keep things in a certain balance which is important and lacking in our current leadership.
    Is it too soon to ask how he will be replaced on the council?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What I will always remember most about Skip is how he and his wife, Corinne, absolutely adored each other. A beautiful and devoted love that grew a beautiful family. May you find comfort in the happy memories and peace be with you as you sustain one another during this difficult time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I sat with Skip on the far side of the City Council table for six years. He was a good friend and a pleasure to work with. While he most certainly should be recognized for the major projects that were completed under his leadership, he should also be remembered for all the little things that DPW does so well for the community on a daily basis. He put his heart and soul into his role as Commissioner. It was an honor to know him.

    Chris Mathiesen

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks, John!! Such an amazing and moving tribute to someone who can not be replaced. The Preservation Foundation’s video was amazing and our family’s deepest thanks goes out to Samantha Bosshart and the foundation for putting it together. The Family is profoundly saddened by our personal loss, as well as the loss to our community. The many people who have reached out through all of this to the various family members, the countless stories and kind recollections of him as a person have been stunning and have helped us all through this difficult time. We cherish each and every one of them as if they were newly minted gold coins, polished to a gleaming shimmer, kept in the kindest of places near our hearts. Each one individually illuminating a small piece of his life, but gathered together the coins shine a collective light as bright as any star on a prodigious life.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve read these wonderful remarks and comments several times, this was an excellent homage to Skip. I’d like to go out on a limb and make a suggestion.

    If she’ll do it (and not want to hit me for suggesting) I think it would be a wonderful tribute to Skip to have his wife, Corrine, appointed by the City Council to serve as interim Commissioner until the special election.

    I know she has accumulated a ton of knowledge about the ins and outs of the position her husband served at for years. Often, she was his voice on social media (which Skip really didn’t participate in). When Public Works was being criticized for this or that, it was Corrine’s well-placed and pithy “Did you know’s?” that shut down many a critique. So, I have no doubt she can handle the public, and knows who to call for answers if needed.

    Of course, only if she wants to. But I cannot think of a better way for the Council to thank it’s long-standing member.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I agree too with Arthur’s idea. Corinne is not only knowledgeable about the department, but she would be a welcome voice of reason at the Council table.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Overlooking Deputy Commissioner Joe O’Neil is so wrong. He is a very capable man, and will be a very good temporary commissioner.

    Like

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