Jason Golub just crushed his first two weeks as Commissioner of Public Works. After being unanimously chosen by a special committee, the announcement of his appointment thrust him into the public eye, an adjustment for even the staunchest of extroverts. Toss in his open-door policy, and we’re willing to bet that his calendar has never been more jam-packed. “It’s been a whirlwind!” confirms the attorney. “I’ve been meeting with as many people as possible. I want the community to know that I’m here to listen to them.” In the next breath, Golub rattles off—with impressive detail—some of his own ideas for his new role and department, before pausing and apologizing: “I get excited about this.” Don’t slow down on our account, Commissioner.
Q: Tell me a little about your qualifications that led to your appointment.
A: First, there’s my ability to manage the day-to-day. I have experience that’s relevant to the management of the city government—I’ve managed through a crisis and in high stress situations. You must look at the city broadly, at both the Department of Public Works and the City Council. That’s the one that some people miss, that you have to do both at the same time.
Q: Your name isn’t completely new to the local government scene.
A: My first exposure to city politics was as the co-chair of Saratoga’s Police Reform Task Force, which was mandated for every city by the governor in light of George Floyd in 2020. We gave our recommendations to the City Council in March 2021, and I stayed around to be part of the civilian review board. I briefly considered running for mayor, but it wasn’t the time. After the unfortunate passing of Skip [Scirocco], I raised my hand.
Q: Yes, the passing of your now-predecessor, the beloved Skip Scirroco, is what necessitated the special election. I’m sure you’ve heard “big shoes to fill” a million times. How does that make you feel?
A: It makes my work even that much more important. He had this office for 14 years and did great things. I only hope that I can build on that. I’m going to continue what he started, and I hope people know that I have their back.
Q: What are your plans for the Department of Public Works?
A: I want us to be more digitally savvy to increase transparency. We should be leveraging tech communication in our community and with our community. We need to do a better job with updates when it comes to things like snow removal. Even if it’s delayed, at least receiving a text message about the delay is helpful. And we don’t have city recycling, so there’s no recycling on Broadway or in city buildings. We’re a progressive city that doesn’t recycle; we need recycling. I have a zillion ideas, but those are some key areas we want to innovate.
Q: Some Saratogians are fearful of the word “innovation” as applied to our town.
A: You can both innovate and preserve what’s unique about our community—they’re not mutually exclusive.
Q: Tell me a few more longer-term goals.
A: Adding more playgrounds—I have two kids—and green space is important to me. Downtown in particular could be more family friendly. Do we add a playground downtown? Ice skating in Congress Park in winter? It’s a family-friendly town, but there aren’t a lot of activities. I’d also like to improve the city’s supplier diversity to consider more locally owned and women-owned businesses.
Q: You’re Saratoga’s first-ever Black commissioner. What are your thoughts on that?
A: I’d like to be known as a successful commissioner who also happens to be Black, not the other way around. The only place it’s relevant is with the next generation who might be thinking, “What can I achieve in this town being Black?” I want my daughter, 9, to see it and think, “I can do this.”
Q: Final thoughts on what you hope to achieve?
A: I want the community to get involved with DPW. I want them to feel they can come to me with ideas. I want Saratoga to evolve as a 21st century city that respects what makes it special.