James E. Cavanaugh, a Yonkers school board trustee who formerly led the Battery Park City Authority in Manhattan and served as chairman of the Westchester Republican County Committee, has been named deputy mayor of Yonkers by the city’s Democratic Mayor Mike Spano.
His appointment is expected to take effect Oct. 2. Cavanaugh will succeed Susan Gerry, who has taken a position at Westchester Medical Center Health Network, according to Spano’s office.
A former government affairs attorney at Cablevision Systems Corp., Gerry became the city’s first female deputy mayor when Spano appointed her to the post at the start of his first term in office in January 2012. In a City Hall administration that has strongly focused on the city’s economic redevelopment and downtown revitalization through public-private partnerships, Gerry also served on the boards of the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency, Yonkers Economic Development Corp., New Main Street Development Corp. and Yonkers Pier Development Inc.
Cavanaugh, who is married to Yonkers Planning and Development Commissioner Wilson Kimball, his former aide at the city agency in Lower Manhattan, in his new post will oversee the operations and policies of city departments and agencies.
Cavanaugh most recently was an associate at Empire Strategic Planning, a government relations and lobbying firm in Albany founded and owned by Nick Spano, the Yonkers mayor’s older brother who served nearly 30 years in the state Legislature as a Republican assemblyman and senator. His brother, the two-term Yonkers mayor, switched political parties from Republican to Democrat 10 years ago while serving in the state Assembly.
From 2005 through 2010, Cavanaugh served as president of the Battery Park City Authority, which oversees 92 acres of land in Lower Manhattan. From 1994 to 2004, he served as Eastchester town supervisor.
For the past three years, Cavanaugh, a Fordham University graduate, served as a Yonkers Board of Education trustee and chaired the board’s facilities committee. He previously served as a director on the Yonkers Parking Authority board.
Spano when announcing Gerry’s departure praised her work as deputy mayor.
“As an attorney, public policy expert and strategist, Sue served this administration with distinction and professionalism. Her talents guided many of this administration’s most notable and proud accomplishments to date,” the mayor said.
He especially cited Gerry’s role in consolidating the administrative functions of the Yonkers school board and the city and in spearheading the strategic planning and management of Rebuild Yonkers Schools, the city’s joint school reconstruction initiative approved this year by the state Legislature.