James J. Eagan resigned late Monday night as a member of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority board of commissioners to become secretary of the Democratic State Committee, according to NFTA and party sources.
The state party elected Eagan during its reorganization meeting Monday in Albany, according to Executive Director Rodney S. Capel.
An outspoken member of the transit agency's governing body, Eagan also has become increasingly involved in Democratic politics over the past few years - especially as a fundraiser.
He was top finance official for Democrat James P. Keane's 2007 campaign for county executive, served as finance chairman and was a major contributor to Mark C. Poloncarz's successful county executive campaign in 2011 and was a member of State Sen. Malcolm Smith's transition committee when he served as majority leader.
Eagan was also one of four men vying for the chairmanship of the Erie County Democratic Committee until he withdrew from the race last week. That post was ultimately won by Jeremy J. Zellner, chief of staff of the County Legislature and one-time top aide to former Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan.
An Orchard Park resident, Eagan is a principal in the Midwood Financial Services firm. His brother, William A. Eagan , was formerly supervisor of Boston; his father, William F. Eagan, served for 15 years as Lackawanna Democratic chairman.
Eagan was originally appointed to the NFTA board in 2006 by the County Legislature and was reconfirmed by the State Senate in January of this year for a second five-year term.
He earned a reputation as a tough questioner of authority practices, resulting in a fiery confrontation with fellow Commissioner Adam W. Perry just last week over staff recommendations regarding a chronically broken escalator in Metro Rail's University Station.
It is now expected the County Legislature will make another recommendation for a replacement on the NFTA board.