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Robert John Duffy

Birthplace: Rochester, Monroe County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Cornelius L. Duffy and Catherine E. Cuddihy

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Robert Duffy

Robert John Duffy (born August 21, 1954) is a Democratic politician who served as Lieutenant Governor of New York from 2011 to 2014 and also served as mayor of Rochester, New York from 2006 to 2010. Earlier in his career Duffy worked as a police officer in Rochester, rising to the positions of deputy chief (1992–98) and chief (1998–2005). He was elected the 65th mayor of the city in November 2005, took office on January 1, 2006 and was re-elected in 2009 (unopposed) for a term scheduled to end in 2013.

In May 2010, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo selected Duffy as his running mate in the race for Governor. Cuomo and Duffy were elected in November 2010 for a four-year term beginning January 1, 2011. Duffy chose not to run for re-election in 2014, and instead became the President and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

Early life and education

Duffy was born to Catherine Cuddihy and Cornelius Duffy and raised in Rochester. He attended Holy Rosary Catholic grammar school, and graduated from the Aquinas Institute in 1972. He went on to earn an associate degree in Recreational Leadership from Monroe Community College in 1975, and another associate degree in Criminal Justice from the same school in 1988. He also earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1993 and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 1998.

Law enforcement career

Duffy joined the Rochester Police Department in 1976 and rose to sergeant in 1985 and lieutenant in 1989, serving in several patrol units, the Tactical Unit, the Field Inspection Section, and the Criminal Investigation Section. He was promoted to captain in January 1992 and deputy chief of operations five months later. He was sworn in as the chief of police in 1998 after his predecessor, Robert Warshaw, was appointed Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Mayor of Rochester


After William A. Johnson, Jr. announced his retirement, Duffy debated whether to become a candidate for the mayor's office which would have (and did) pit him against the Democratic favorite and city councilman, Wade S. Norwood. Johnson threatened to fire Duffy if he ran for office. Assemblyman Joseph Morelle called on Duffy to definitively announce or forgo his candidacy or risk running afoul of the state election law prohibiting police officers from soliciting funds for political purposes.

Duffy retired as Chief to run in the Democratic Primary for Mayor in 2005.


During the opening months of his administration, Mayor Duffy closed down the fast ferry service across Lake Ontario between Toronto and Rochester.

In December 2009 Duffy proposed to abolish the Rochester Board of Education and placing governance of the city's public school system directly under the mayor and city council, a system similar to the school governance structure in New York City, Chicago, and Cleveland. Opinion polls taken during 2010 indicated that a majority was in favor of the idea. The plan is still on the table and awaiting approval by the State Legislature a year after it was originally proposed.

Lieutenant Governor of New York

In May 2010, Duffy was picked by Cuomo to be the lieutenant gubernatorial nominee. They won on November 2, 2010 with 62% of the vote. Cuomo subsequently named Duffy director of his transition team.

On May 8, 2014, Duffy announced he would not seek re-election as Lieutenant Governor, citing health and family reasons. At the end of his term, he was hired as the President and CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance (now the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce).

Personal life

He married his wife, Barbara, in 1986, and raised two daughters, Erin and Shannon. One of Duffy's hobbies is running – he has run in the New York City Marathon.

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Robert Duffy's Timeline

August 21, 1954
Rochester, Monroe County, New York, United States