LOCKPORT – Former North Tonawanda Mayor Lawrence V. Soos was fired from his part-time job at the Niagara County Board of Elections on Tuesday, the day after he criticized new county Democratic Party Chairman Nicholas J. Forster at a party meeting.
Soos said he was called into Commissioner Nancy L. Smith’s office at about 4 p.m. and was told he was terminated.
“I said, ‘May I ask why?’ She said, ‘I was called by our chairman and told to terminate your position,’?” Soos said.
Soos was an ally of former Democratic Chairman Daniel Rivera of North Tonawanda, who was not a favorite of Forster’s.
“He’s an at-will employee under the exclusive control of the election commissioner,” Forster said. “I have no further comment.”
Smith did not return a call seeking comment.
Smith’s renomination as elections commissioner was tabled at Monday’s Democratic reorganizational meeting, pending a meeting between Forster and the Board of Elections’ Democratic staff.
Republican Commissioner Mary Ann L. Casamento also had to sign off on Soos’ firing, he said.
Forster was elected party chairman Monday night, after Soos made a speech seconding the nomination of former Chairman Jeremy M. Schnurr for a new term.
Soos went directly after Forster in his remarks, claiming that Forster hadn’t attended a Democratic fundraiser since he stepped down as chairman in 2002. “Where the hell were you?” Soos snapped at Forster.
Forster replied, “I’ve been on this committee on and off for 30 years. Where the hell were you?”
Soos said he was working 17½ hours a week and earning $17 an hour at the Board of Elections.
“I knew he wanted to get rid of me, but I figured he’d wait until the election cycle was over,” Soos said. “Just proves he’s the bully I said he was. I think there’s a dark cloud hanging over Niagara County for the next two years.”