May 2004

A famous politician once said that “all politics is local.” The majority of you – if not all – live this maxim because you deal with citizens literally at street level; you either go knocking on doors to keep in touch with the people in your community or you know exactly what they’re thinking because of the sheer volume of phone calls you receive – for better or for worse.

This is what the late former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, author of the above quote, meant when he said it – all work gets done at the community level because it’s the people that live and work in that community who have the vested interest and knowledge to solve their problems – not necessarily the folks in D.C.

For anything to be successful, really, it has to hit home with people. And we at Superintendent’s Profile sincerely hope that each and every month we’ve been able to do that – to take you to a different city, town or village and tell its story; to outline the unique highway or public works challenges inherent to the area; to, in a way, take you to street level (sometimes even sewer level). It’s always a pleasure for us to tell your stories.

This month’s profile is on Robert Mitchell, commissioner of Public Works for the “crossroads” of New York State (otherwise known as the Town of Colonie). In this rapidly developing area, Robert spends much of his time trying to figure out ways to maintain his town’s infrastructure while also trying to help Colonie keep its sense of community. Not an easy job. But when you’ve lived in your town for 53 years, which is how long Robert has lived in Colonie, you know what your neighbors, citizens or constituents want and need their community to be. And knowing that is invaluable.

You can also view previous issues of Superintendent's Profile.