Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Council president resigning to become city clerk

By Thomas J. Prohaska
NEWS NIAGARA REPORTER

Updated: January 3, 2012, 11:31 PM
LOCKPORT — Mayor Michael W. Tucker shuffled the deck Tuesday at City Hall, announcing that Common Council President Richelle J. Pasceri will resign that post to become city clerk, effective today.
Tucker appointed Alderman Joseph C. Kibler, R-at large, to serve as Council president and chose former Council President John Lombardi III to succeed Pasceri in the 1st Ward Council seat.
The mayor's moves surprised even those affected. He said Pasceri was shocked by his offer.
Lombardi said he was relieved to be called to City Hall after closing time Friday and told by the mayor that he wanted him to fill the 1st Ward vacancy. He said he was afraid Tucker would name him city clerk.
Asked if the change had been in the works for a long time, Pasceri answered, "Not so long that I'm scheduled for the next two weeks at Danny Sheehan's [where she is a waitress], and I don't have permanent child care lined up."
Tucker, a Republican, said Pasceri also will be his choice for budget director, the other portfolio held by veteran City Clerk Richard P. Mullaney. He retired Friday after 30 years as budget chief and 26 years as clerk.
However, Mullaney has agreed to a $12,000 consulting contract for this year. "Dick's going to be the budget guy as long as he's here," Tucker said.
The mayor said Pasceri won't be paid extra for budget duties this year; she will receive the $55,000 included in the 2012 budget for the clerk's job.
Tucker's original plan was to have Personnel Officer Mary Pat Holz double as clerk, but Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano ruled that state regulations forbade extra employment for Holz because she is in charge of civil service in the city and another assignment would create a conflict of interest.
Pasceri served four years on the Council, the last two as president.
With 10 years on the Council, Kibler, 78, a retired banking executive, also has plenty of budgetary background.
"Joe's the longest-serving alderman. He's been Finance [Committee] chairman for eight years, although I took him off Finance [for 2012] and gave it to [5th Ward Alderman] Ken Genewick because his plate was too full," Tucker said.
Kibler said he wasn't reluctant to take over as Council president. "I've got a good Council, with Lombardi, [Patrick W.] Schrader and Genewick coming back. And Anne McCaffrey and Kitty Fogle [the Council newcomers] are good people," Kibler said.
All the aldermen are Republicans except for Schrader, a Democrat.
Lombardi, 54, served two stints as 5th Ward alderman, totaling eight years, including six years as Council president. His home was moved into the 1st Ward in last year's city redistricting.
He said he will run this fall for election to an unexpired one-year term in his new ward.
Besides Genewick, Tucker named the other committee chairmen. Schrader will head two committees: Youth, and Water and Sewer. Kibler also has two chairmanships: Highways and Parks, and Public Health and Safety. Lombardi will head the Personnel Committee.
tprohaska@buffnews.com

This article printed in the Buffalo News should be our first warning that "politics as usual" is alive and well in Lockport and that Tucker learned nothing from November's election results.

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