Joanie Mahoney

Joanie Mahoney
SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry
Assumed office
November 4, 2020 (2020-11-04)
Preceded by David C. Amberg (Interim)
3rd Executive of Onondaga County, New York
In office
January 1, 2008 – November 1, 2018
Preceded by Nicholas J. Pirro
Succeeded by J. Ryan McMahon
Personal details
Born 1965
Rochester, NY
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Marc Overdyk
Alma mater Syracuse University (BA, JD)
Profession attorney

Joanne M. "Joanie" Mahoney (born 1965) is the fifth President of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), in Syracuse, New York.[1][2] Prior to this, she served as the County Executive of Onondaga County, New York. The first woman to hold, and be elected to, that position, she served from January 1, 2008, through November 1, 2018.[3][4]


Mahoney was raised in Syracuse, New York, as the middle child of nine children.[5] Her father, Bernie Mahoney, was a member of the Syracuse Common Council and then the New York State Assembly.[5]

Mahoney attended Shea Middle School and Corcoran High School in Syracuse, then received her B.A. degree from the Management School at Syracuse University in 1987, and J.D. degree from the Syracuse University College of Law in 1990.[2][6]

She is married to Marc Overdyk and has four children.[7]


Early career

Mahoney worked as an attorney with the Harris Beach law firm as well as a criminal prosecutor in the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office.[8] She left the position in 1997 to become a full-time, stay-at-home mother, but decided to run for a seat on the Syracuse Common Council.[7] She won election to the Syracuse Common Council in November 1999, and served from 2000 until 2002.[6] Mahoney decided against running for re-election to the Common Council, choosing to spend more time with her children.

In 2005, she announced she would seek the office of Mayor of Syracuse, challenging incumbent Matthew Driscoll, a Democrat. She lost to Driscoll 49% to 46%, with Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins receiving 5% of the vote.[9] It was the closest mayoral race in over 80 years for Syracuse.[10]

County Executive

In February 2007, long-time incumbent County Executive Nicholas J. Pirro announced his retirement. Mahoney decided to run, but failed to win the endorsement of the Onondaga County Republican Party. The Republicans endorsed Dale Sweetland, Chairman of the County Legislature.[10] Mahoney decided to seek the Republican nomination in a party primary held on September 18, 2007. In the primary, she edged out Sweetland by 21 votes.[10] However, Sweetland remained on the ballot, on the Conservative Party and Independence Party lines.

During the general election, Mahoney was pitted against New York State Assemblyman, William "Bill" Magnarelli. Mahoney campaigned on bringing a "fresh start" to the county, while Magnarelli campaigned on the grounds that he was more experienced than Mahoney. She also argued that Magnarelli was too tied to Albany to understand how Onondaga County worked – something the voters should not tolerate.[7] In the course of the race, Mahoney picked up some key endorsements. She was endorsed by Syracuse Tomorrow, the political action committee of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce;[11] The Post-Standard, the local newspaper in Syracuse;[12] and Republican presidential-hopeful Rudy Giuliani, who is popular in upstate New York.[13]

Mahoney won the election by a wide margin, earning 58% of the vote to Magnarelli's 36% .[14] On November 19, 2007, Mahoney announced the names of her transition team that would ease the switch from Pirro's administration to hers. As she had promised on the campaign trail, it was a bipartisan team of Republicans and Democrats. The honorary co-chairs of her transition team were Republican County Executive Nick Pirro and former Syracuse Mayor Thomas Ganley Young, a Democrat.[15]

Mahoney was inaugurated as Executive of Onondaga County on January 1, 2008. She was reelected in 2012, and again in 2016.

Presidency at SUNY-ESF

In September 2018, Mahoney announced her resignation as county executive, midway through her third term, to take a position as Chief Operating Officer with the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).[3][4]

Mahoney was appointed as the fifth president of ESF on November 4, 2020.[1][2][8] She is the college's first female president.[16]

Electoral history

Onondaga County Executive Election, 2007
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Joanie Mahoney 68,183 58.1 N/A
Democratic William Magnarelli 42,144 35.9 N/A
Independence Dale Sweetland 5,862 5.0 N/A
Working Families William Magnarelli N/A
Conservative Dale Sweetland N/A
Independent Ed Ryan 1,083 1.0 N/A
Independent Joanie Mahoney N/A
Majority 26,039 22.2
Turnout 117,292
  • Totals for each candidate are for all lines
  • Mahoney ran as a Republican and under the Fresh Start Party line
  • William Magnarelli ran as a Democrat and under the Working Families Party line
  • Dale Sweetland ran under the Conservative and Independence Parties of New York
  • Ed Ryan ran under the It's Your County Party line
Onondaga County Executive Republican Primary, 2007
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Joanie Mahoney 10,412 49.2 N/A
Republican Dale Sweetland 10,391 49.1 N/A
Majority 21 0.1
Turnout 21,125
Syracuse, NY Mayoral Election, 2005
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Matthew Driscoll (Incumbent) 16,470 49.7 N/A
Republican Joanie Mahoney 15,110 45.6 N/A
Green Howie Hawkins 1,551 4.7 N/A
Independence Joanie Mahoney N/A
Working Families Matthew Driscoll (Incumbent) N/A
Conservative Joanie Mahoney N/A
Majority 1,360 4.1
Turnout 33,131
  • Totals for each candidate are for all lines


  1. ^ a b Holly, Liapis (November 4, 2020). "New Campus Leadership Announcements: SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Presidents at Old Westbury, Upstate Medical, and SUNY ESF Campuses". SUNY Office of Communications (Press release). Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Alessandrini, Sarah (November 4, 2020). "Former County Executive Joanie Mahoney named SUNY-ESF president". The Daily Orange. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Knauss, Tim. (2018, November 1). "Why Onondaga County Exec Joanie Mahoney is leaving the 'best job I could hope for'," Accessed: November 1, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Knauss, Tim. (2018, October 2). "Joanie Mahoney makes it official: 'I hereby submit to you my resignation'," Accessed: October 24, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Steve Carlic. "Untested but undeterred, she promises a 'fresh start'". Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Knight Political Reporting Archived June 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b c "Syracuse & Central NY Local News". Retrieved June 29, 2014.[dead link]
  8. ^ a b Mulder, James T. (November 4, 2020). "Joanie Mahoney named president of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry". Syracuse Post Standard. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  9. ^ Daily Orange[dead link]
  10. ^ a b c The Post Standard
  11. ^ "Chamber's PAC backs Mahoney". Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  12. ^ [1] Archived November 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ [2] Archived November 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Daily Orange Archived November 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ The Post Standard
  16. ^ Rand, Mary (November 18, 2020). "SU alum Joanie Mahoney becomes first female president of SUNY-ESF". The Daily Orange. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
Academic offices
Preceded by
David C. Amberg (Interim)
President of SUNY Environmental Science & Forestry
November 4, 2020–
Political offices
Preceded by
Nicholas J. Pirro
Onondaga County, New York Executive
January 1, 2008–November 1, 2018
Succeeded by
J. Ryan McMahon

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