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Reporter's Notebook

January 1, 2010

Reporter's Notebook: Mayor Nader was rarely 'unplugged"

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.

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