About the Commission


Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr. | Co-Chair, Consensus, Former President, SUNY ESF

I became involved with CONSENSUS because I want to help make our community an even better place for my children and grandchildren who have made Onondaga County and Central New York their home. I have been provided great opportunities and I want to help assure that others have the same experience. Together we can create an extraordinary future.”

Cornelius ("Neil") B. Murphy, Jr. is Senior Fellow for Environmental and Sustainable Systems at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). From 2000 to 2013, he was the third President of SUNY-ESF. Previously, he was president and chief executive officer of O'Brien & Gere, a large environmental engineering consulting firm based in Syracuse, New York. He has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Syracuse University, and a B.A. in Chemistry from Saint Michael's College.

James T. Walsh| Co-Chair, Consensus, Former Representative for the 25th Congressional District of New York

I was excited to be asked to co-chair Consensus with Catherine Richardson and Neil Murphy because I share their commitment to the future of our community. I see this Commission as a real chance to show that we are focused on positive change and creating greater opportunity for our children and their children. The future belongs to the bold and the time is right to make bold steps. I welcome the challenge

Mr. Walsh is a government affairs counselor in the Washington, D.C. office of global law firm K&L Gates LLP. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where he served from 1989 to 2009. During his tenure in Congress, Mr. Walsh served as a deputy Republican whip from 1994-2006. Prior to serving in Congress, Mr. Walsh served as a Member of the Syracuse Common Council for the years 1977-1985 and as President from 1985-1988. Mr. Walsh is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer- Nepal where he served from 1970-1972 as an Agriculture Extension Agent.

Jim and DeDe Walsh have 3 adult children and 3 grandchildren. They will be celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary this November. They currently reside in Washington, DC but retain residence and voting status in New York State.

M. Catherine Richardson | Co-Chair, Consensus, Retired Attorney, Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC

I am excited to be a part of this commission and its work, and believe that we have an opportunity to engage the community in a process that will accommodate new and exciting growth. At every opportunity, we will be emphatic that real actions leading to real change be taken.

Catherine is a retired member of Bond Schoeneck and King PLLC, with whom she spent her entire legal career. During that time she was a business lawyer who represented all size businesses, school districts and large not for profits engaged in the healthcare industry.

Bethaida "Bea" González | Dean, University College of Syracuse University

The role of the commission is to research, find solutions, and make recommendations on modernization initiatives that will match fiscal resources with human needs. By exploring ways to streamline local government agencies, we can find long-term solutions that are cost effective and efficient. As a former Syracuse Common Council member and a longtime resident, I’m happy to bring my t experience to the table to help the public make informed decisions on the future fiscal health of our community.

Bethaida "Bea" González, a long-time resident of Syracuse, has 30 years of experience in continuing education. González joined University College (UC) in 1984 as an academic advisor and quickly rose through the ranks. She also has as a distinguished career in public service, having been elected to public office three times. She became the first Latina on the Syracuse City School District’s board of education in 1991, the first Latina elected to the Syracuse Common Council, and the first Latina candidate for Syracuse mayor in the city’s history. Gonzalez graduated from SUNY Binghamton, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science. She also has a master's in public administration from S.U.’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

William Byrne | Byrne Dairy Inc., Chairman of the Board, and 42 year employee

I'm involved with Consensus because I'm so concerned with the competitiveness of our local manufacturing operations in relation to other states. The cost and performance of government is a critical factor in our ability to compete, and to continue to grow our business.

Community Activities:
Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative: Chairman, 2003-2006
NY Federal Reserve Small Business & Agriculture Advisory Board: Member, 2012 - present
Salvation Army – Syracuse Area Services: Advisory Board: Member, 1997 - present
Success by Six Policy Council: Member, 2006- present

Dr. Donna J. DeSiato | Superintendent of Schools, East Syracuse Minoa Central School District

I am involved in Consensus to listen and learn from the diverse perspectives throughout our county and to work collaboratively in researching and understanding possible solutions to the ongoing changes and challenges in planning for a promising future for all generations that will follow.

Dr. Donna DeSiato, a respected leader in the field of public education, proudly serves as superintendent of the East Syracuse Minoa Central School District. As Superintendent of ESM since 2005, the District has realized significant gains in student achievement, experienced a continual increase in the graduation rate and developed innovative educational models with business partnerships. Most recently ESM was recognized nationally by the College Board on their 2011 AP Achievement list and by Newsweek for their Best 2000 High Schools in the nation. Dr. DeSiato is highly regarded in education and in the business community for her expertise and leadership in 21st century learning and preparing graduates for our global society.

Sharon F. Owens | CEO of Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility

I'm involved with Consensus because this is a discussion with generational implications for our community. As with my involvement in other community initiatives, I’m here to ensure that all voices are represented in the discussion.

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sharon Owens has worked in the field of housing, community development, and human services for almost 30 years. May, 2013 Sharon F. Owens became the third CEO of Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility, Inc. While an employee of the City of Syracuse in the Stephanie Miner administration, Sharon served as Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development administering the city's Community Development Block Grant funding. Prior to joining city government, Sharon served as Deputy Director of housing not for profit agencies Home HeadQuarters, Inc. and Jubilee Homes of Syracuse. Throughout her career, Sharon has developed relationships with many Syracuse families empowering them to become a contributor in strengthening their community.

Patrick M. Kilmartin | County Legislator, 11th District

I chose to participate in Consensus to make a contribution to improving our community. We always have the opportunity to improve, to move forward and to advance. Consensus is comprised of some of the leading public and private minds from our region. I hope to make small contribution to improving Onondaga County and Central New York for our next generation.

Community Activities:
Life long resident of Onondaga County
1991 BA from University of Rochester, 1994 JD from New England School of Law
Former Assistant District Attorney in Onondaga County
Former Chairman of Town of Onondaga Assessment Review Board, Former Chairman of Town of Onondaga Zoning Board of Appeals
Attorney in the private practice of law 1998-present
Onondaga County Legislator from 2007-present; Majority Leader of the Onondaga County Legislature from 2012-present
Owner and operator of private real estate development company

Melanie Littlejohn | ‎Director of Community and Customer Management, National Grid

I agreed to serve on the Commission to actively engage in capturing the voice of those who live, work and play in Onondaga County. My hope is that through this effort, we will create a community that is heralded for the way it engages its citizens to drive meaningful and lasting change.

Melanie Littlejohn is the Director of Community and Customer Management for the Central New York Division of National Grid. In her role as regional executive since 2011,Melanie is responsible for establishing and maintaining strong local relationships that drive superior customer satisfaction and enhanced company reputation.

Prior to being named to her current position, Ms. Littlejohn was the Executive Director for Energy Solutions Delivery for National Grid’s Central New York. Melanie joined the company (then Niagara Mohawk) in April of 1994 as the Director of Inclusion & Diversity-US Operations.

Prior to joining Niagara Mohawk, Ms. Littlejohn was the Executive Director of Urban League Onondaga County. Before joining the Urban League, she was the Manager of International Client Services for Banker’s Trust Company in the Wall Street District.

Ms. Littlejohn obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. She resides in Syracuse, New York, with her husband, David, and two sons, Jared and Cameron.

Ann Rooney | Deputy County Executive for Human Services, County of Onondaga

Consensus to me is one of those rare instances when leadership, history and crisis collide to create opportunity. I was honored when the County Executive appointed me and I hope that the work we do on Consensus will leave a lasting mark on our community for future generations.

Ann currently serves as the Deputy County Executive for Human Services for Onondaga County. In this role, she is responsible for directing, advising, and coordinating policy for department heads and employees in the following areas: Adult & Long Term Care Services, Children and Family Services, Corrections, Health, Probation, and Department of Social Services: Economic Security. Prior to joining Onondaga County government, Ann worked for the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., in the Defense Logistics Agency and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Upon returning home to Syracuse, she continued her career in public service as a Program Analyst and Budget Director for the City of Syracuse, and Chief Financial Officer for the local Salvation Army.

Ann graduated from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University with a master’s degree in Public Administration.

Mark Nicotra | Supervisor, Town of Salina

I'm involved in Consensus because, I was taught to always leave something in better condition than how you found it. I want to be part of the solution of how this region takes shape for those that come after us.

Mark Nicotra is the Supervisor for the Town of Salina, which home to nearly 34-thousand residents in diverse communities, including Liverpool, North Syracuse, Mattydale, Lyncourt and Galeville. As Supervisor, Mark is the chief executive administering the town’s 10 departments which provide valued services for residents, businesses and visitors. The town maintains eight parks, nearly 100 miles of highway, and provides accessible planning and development services that make Salina a business-friendly community while maintaining an attractive quality of life. In addition to his role as Town Supervisor, Mark also serves the community as a member of the board on the recently-established Syracuse Regional Airport Authority.

Chad Ryan | Syracuse Common Council, District 2

I agreed to be on the commission because I chair the Inter-Governmental Service and Consolidation Committee for the city of Syracuse. I also believe that consolidation is necessary for the future of Onondaga County and our region. How that consolidation is implemented and how it impacts local municipalities will be very important and I am excited to be a part of that.

Chad M. Ryan is a lifetime resident of the city of Syracuse. He is a 4th generation Tipp Hill resident and is a Funeral Director at Edward J. Ryan & Son Inc. Chad was elected to the Common Council in 2013 and took office January 2014. He represents the 2nd District on the Common Council. He is the Chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Service and Consolidation Committee. He is also a member of the Charter, Rules, Procedure & RFP Committee, Economic Development, Downtown & Metropolitan Planning Committee and Finance, Taxation and Assessment Committee.

Aminy I. Audi | L. & J.G. Stickley, Inc.

Aminy I. Audi, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of L. & J.G. Stickley, is a graduate of New York University. Prior to joining Stickley she was a freelance writer and reporter for the Voice of America. Under her direction Stickley continues to receive national attention. The company has been featured in almost every major magazine and newspaper in the country.

Aminy has conducted seminars throughout the country and in Tokyo, Japan on Stickley's continuing mission and the pivotal role Stickley plays in the revival of the Arts and Crafts movement. She has been the commencement speaker at Alfred State University and Morrisville State College as well as the keynote speaker at the annual Prayer Breakfast for the home furnishings industry. As a trustee of the State University of New York and Co-chair of its International Studies Committee, Aminy traveled to Turkey, Poland, Russia and Mexico. She is a recipient of Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Colgate University.

In 1993 Aminy was a Non-Governmental Delegate to the United Nations Conference on Human Rights, Vienna and in 1995 she was a Non-Governmental delegate to the United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing.

Aminy and her late husband, Alfred, have three children, Edward, Carolyn and Andrea, and four grandchildren.

Laurence G. Bousquet | Member & Board of Managers, Bousquet Holstein, PLLC

Larry is a Member of Bousquet Holstein PLLC and serves on its Board of Managers. He has performed extensive work involving acquisitions, sales and mergers, capital formation, enterprise structuring, feasibility studies, partnership and limited liability company law, commercial transactions, estate taxation and business transition planning, and New York and federal income, estate, and gift taxation. Larry is a Director and Member of the Executive Committee of CenterState CEO and serves on the Board of Directors of Syracuse 20/20. Larry is the past President of the Onondaga Citizens League, where he was the Chair of the 2005 study on Strategic Governmental Consolidation.

Larry is an honors graduate of Kenyon College and the Syracuse University College of Law, where he served as an adjunct faculty member teaching in Partnership Taxation for many years. Larry is the immediate past President of the Everson Museum and continues to serve as an honorary Trustee and chair its Development Committee.

Darlene Kerr | Retired President, Niagara Mohawk

Darlene served as President of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce from 2006-2010. She developed strategy to merge organization with existing Metropolitan Development Association to create new structure, CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CEO), a 12 county regional business and economic development organization. She served as President, Director National Grid USA Service Company, Inc. from 2002 – 2003 and President, Chief Operating Officer Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, having worked for Niagara Mohawk from 1973-2002. Darlene has extensive experience in virtually all parts of the electric and gas utility business. She has also had an extensive community leadership career with strong alliances across business, government, academic and non-profit sector leaders across upstate New York. She has led by effectively forging strong working relationships with employees at all levels, including organized labor.

Stephen "Steve" F. Meyer | President and CEO, Welch Allyn, Inc.

Steve Meyer is president & chief executive officer of Welch Allyn, a privately-held, developer, manufacturer, and marketer of frontline care medical devices and diagnostic solutions headquartered in Skaneateles Falls, New York. A native of Michigan, Meyer joined the Welch Allyn business in 1981 as a sales representative in Detroit.

Steve holds a bachelor's of science degree in Biology from Alma College and earned his master's of business administration from the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester, New York.

Mark A. Olson | Mayor, Village of Fayetteville

Mark is currently Vice President of Sales Marketing for Gerharz Equipment in East Syracuse. He has been a member of the Fayetteville Fire Department since 1981, currently serving as Captain, and have been Assistant Treasurer of the Fireman’s Association. Mark was elected as a Trustee in 1996 and re-elected in 2000 and has served as liaison to the planning, zoning and historic boards as well as celebrations and buildings and grounds. In his second term as trustee he served as liaison to the Fayetteville Senior Center and Fayetteville Free Library. Mark was elected to the Mayor’s office in April of 2004.

Dr. Dennis Nave | Greater Syracuse Labor Council

Dr. Dennis Nave is a medical physician specializing in family practice. He is currently the president of the Onondaga County medical society. Dr. Nave is also the President of the Greater Syracuse Labor Council, which represents 40,000 workers in 62 area unions. Nave graduated from Syracuse City Schools, Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Andrew Maxwell | Director, Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency

Andrew currently serves under Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney as Director of the recently reconstituted Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency. The Agency acts as consolidated planning department for both the City of Syracuse and County of Onondaga, and contains planning, zoning, Geographic Information Systems, sustainability, historic preservation, public art and urban design functions for both governments. The Agency’s mission is to promote sound planning in Syracuse and Onondaga County that fosters greater economic vitality, environmental stewardship and improved quality of life.

Prior to directing the joint City-County planning agency under the recent merger, Andrew served as founding Director of Syracuse’s Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, created by Mayor Miner in January 2010.

In 1993 Aminy was a Non-Governmental Delegate to the United Nations Conference on Human Rights, Vienna and in 1995 she was a Non-Governmental delegate to the United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing.

From August 2006 until December 2009 Andrew worked in the City of Syracuse’s Community Development Department managing the City’s Comprehensive Plan, the City’s Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today (TNT) citizen participation program, Community Development Block Grant programming, and the AIA’s Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program, as well as other housing, planning, and community development related initiatives.

Andrew sits on the board of directors of FOCUS Greater Syracuse, the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA), Leadership Greater Syracuse, Syracuse MetroNet, the Onondaga Citizens League, the Onondaga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board, and serves on the Onondaga Lake Watershed Partnership, Onondaga County Agriculture Council, the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, and the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council.

He received his B.A. in History and American Studies from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY, and his Masters in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Andrew was born and raised in Syracuse, NY, and is a proud graduate of the Syracuse City School District.