OLEAN – Six weeks after James Brady’s sudden resignation from the Olean City Council, Ward 1 again has representation.
Gerard Lefeber, a resident of the First Ward, was unanimously approved Tuesday to take the seat, at the recommendation of Mayor Linda Witte.
Lefeber, a Democrat and former candidate for the Cattaraugus County Legislature, served as a Lutheran minister for 33 years. He retired after a stint at St. John’s Lutheran Church of Allegany.
“I would first like to thank the mayor and the aldermen for having the confidence to appoint me to this position,” Lefeber said.
“On one hand, I am humbled. On the other, I am excited and looking forward to working with all of you, and to the progress of the things we can accomplish together.
“Secondly, I would be most appreciative of any helpful suggestions or counsel any of my fellow aldermen would like to offer in the coming days and weeks ahead.”
The process leading to Lefeber’s appointment included interviewing five possible candidates by Witte and the aldermen to get a feel for the candidates and for the direction the city is headed.
According to Witte, a sixth candidate was considered but not interviewed. That candidate withdrew after considering the time constraints that would come with the position.
Brady was a Republican. The addition of Lefeber to the Council changes the political landscape a bit but does not shift power. Lefeber joins Aldermen Paul Gonzalez and Ann McLaughlin on the Democratic side of the aisle. There are also three Republicans, James Finch, Nate Smith and Thomas Morgan, and one Conservative, Matthew Keller.