October 28 – Happy Birthday Joe Emanuele

Joe Emanuele was born in Amsterdam on October 28, 1956 and has lived here his entire life. He was a gifted high school athlete at Wilbur Lynch High School on both the gridiron and the hardwood. He is the type of person you like instantly. He’s got a great sense of humor and a sharp mind. His family is his life.

He was elected Mayor of the City of Amsterdam in November of 2003, defeating two-term Democratic incumbent John Duchessi. Then a full time math teacher at Fonda-Fultonville Middle School, Emanuele told the city’s voters he intended to continue teaching while serving the City as a part time Mayor and would donate the portion of his salary he did not earn to the Amsterdam Public Library. That’s exactly what he did.

A staunch Republican, Emanuele believes that the most effective government is one that governs least. He is a disciple of the “starve the beast” approach to problem solving and his championing of a three percent cap on the City property tax rate played a huge role in every City budget passed since, until New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo got a statewide two percent limit enacted.

During Joe’s term in office he depended heavily on his lovely wife Tina and his City Hall staff to help him handle the day-to-day types of issues and activities a full-time Mayor would typically handle. His biggest strength was his ability to respond to any type of problem, opportunity or conflict in a calm, respectful and very professional manner. I have no idea how he could handle the rigors of teaching mathematics to middle school students while at the same time administering a City with the problems Amsterdam was experiencing but outwardly at least, he did it with unflappable good grace.

I was surprised when Joe announced he did not plan on seeking reelection after his term as Mayor expired. I believe one factor in that decision had to be the…

You can read the rest of my story about this former Amsterdam mayor in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.


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