It could be called the Second Nader Era.
When John Nader became mayor four years ago, he took up where his father, Sam Nader, left off exactly 40 years ago.
There might not be any better descriptor of Mayor John Nader's work ethic than the 81/2-by-11-inch copy paper sign that hung in his office on the first floor of City Hall: "Please Unplug Me When You Leave."
That sign is no longer there.
Nader cleaned out his office last month to make way for Mayor Dick Miller, who was sworn in Friday.
During the four years I covered the Nader administration, it was easy to forget he had a full-time job as the dean of liberal arts and sciences at the State University College of Technology at Delhi.
Nader was promoted to provost at SUNY Delhi in 2009, and that led to his decision not to seek re-election to a second term.
As with most relationships between reporters and the personalities they cover, it was not always smooth.
There were early-morning phone calls challenging coverage and lengthy, point-by-point e-mail exchanges, but throughout it all, Nader remained accessible, amicable and fair.
The image I remember most about Nader's term was when on the second day of the June 2006 flooding, the rising waters from the Susquehanna River threatened the Sixth Ward. "You've got to see this," Nader said during a call he placed to The Daily Star as part of his periodic updates during the emergency.
I arrived at the intersection of Main Street and Neahwa Place to seen Nader, still on his phone, standing in front of the flood gates installed decades earlier to protect the neighborhood where he lived as a boy. The gates were closed for the first time to contain the rising water _ and held fast.
The mayor seemed to be everywhere during the flood response and was far from unplugged.
Aside from the flood and a controversial biomass power plant proposal that generated widespread public opposition, the first two years of Nader's term were fairly smooth. Common Council meetings were brisk and most votes were unanimous.
"I think we worked very efficiently for those first two years," Nader said during an interview with The Daily Star on Dec. 10.
But with the election of five new aldermen who took office in 2008, that changed.
"With the change in composition of the council, it certainly made the day-to-day administration of the council more challenging," Nader said. "We had tried to organize a very robust orientation and transition for the new council members because there were so many new ones coming in. I think we did that very well."
But meetings in 2008 had a slower pace and were more tension-filled.
"One of the frustrations that I have had about this is that sometimes council members don't ask in advance of council. I was accustomed to most council members sitting down amongst themselves to discuss things in detail before they came to council or trying to visit with me in order to do so," Nader said.
"At least for my third year in office, there was less willingness to do that and that made for a rocky road and more difficult meetings, I think the last year that's changed to some degree. Things have gone more smoothly along those lines. That speaks to the need for good, robust committees for things to be aired."
Nader said this will be one of the keys for Miller's success
"I'm hoping that the council can congeal around doing detailed work in committee," Nader said.
Retired City Engineering Administrator and Community Development Director Joseph Bernier and Nader recently came up with an informal list of initiatives, events and accomplishments for the last four years. The list identified more than 40.
Much of what can be deemed as the accomplishments of the John Nader administration are obvious. These include the project to re-develop the former Bresee's; the Memorial Walkway; and the city's centennial events.
I asked the mayor what some his administration' unseen accomplishments were.
One of these was helping a downtown merchants' group become more involved in improving the city, he said.
"I think Main Street Oneonta was stagnant until we established a contract with it to help with downtown promotion," Nader said.
Nader said he was also pleased with the collaboration between the city and Otsego County Economic Developer Carolyn Lewis and her staff, who work out of the county office building on Main Street, a half a block away from City Hall.
"I think it's fair to say the city and county had never had the kind of relations that we know have. The distance between 242 Main St. and 258 Main St. was more than a few buildings, and with Joe (Bernier) and Carolyn we've been able to work out a great relationship," Nader said.
Jake Palmateer can be reached at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 221, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.