ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Deputy Mayor James Smith is due to take over as Rochester mayor once Lovely Warren officially resigns her post, no later than December 1st. Smith was at Cobbs Hill Park Thursday, where he talked about Warren’s resignation announcement Monday, and his vision for his time in office, which could run about a month.
He says many in City Hall learned about Warren’s resignation as the situation evolved Monday.
“We’re at a crossroads in our community, there’s obviously a transition coming with the new mayor and we have a sort of added wrinkle now of a different transition,” Smith said.
Smith says in all fairness to the Mayor, what she’s been dealing with legally is a very personal situation, and it’s something he’d like to avoid talking about, adding that their relationship was close.
“I suggest you ask that question to the Mayor, I’m not here to get into that,” he said. “I’ve worked with the mayor, I have a lot of respect for the Mayor, she’s family to me.”
He says his true task and duty is to make sure the citizens here are served and the quality of life here stays intact when it comes to basic services.
“I signed up for this, and when I signed up for this, I signed up for all of it. I believe I have a duty and I intend to carry that out,” he said.
Violence on the streets is still a challenge. He calls it ‘unacceptable and something he’s not going to just let ride out. “We owe it to the victims of violence… their families and to the victims themselves to pursue justice,” he says.
He also says he’s focused on making sure that there is a smooth transition in January for presumptive mayor Malik Evans. “Because his success will be the success for the City and for all of us who live in the City,” he says.
Smith is a public school graduate, then going to SUNY Oswego for higher education. Throughout his career, he has worn many hats over the years serving the public; working for Seneca County, Monroe County, the City, the Water Authority, and even a regional director for Congress.