The Lancaster Village Board on Monday appointed its first female trustee in seven years, and just the third woman to serve on the board in its history, to fill a vacant seat.
Dawn Robinson, 42, an accountant and active volunteer in the community, was named to the position left vacant in September when Trustee Paul M. Maute was elevated to the mayor’s job.
Robinson will earn $9,900 annually in the part-time position and must run for re-election in March to fill the last two years of Maute’s term.
“I’m excited for the challenge,” said Robinson, an accountant with Schlabach Enterprises in Clarence, in an interview before Monday’s meeting.
She replaces Maute, who moved up to the mayor’s job after longtime Mayor William G. Cansdale Jr. resigned to take the post of public works superintendent.
Robinson, who has never sought elected office, was one of about 10 candidates for the vacant trustee’s position interviewed this fall by village officials.
“We took it seriously. We didn’t want to rush into it. It’s a very important position,” Maute said in an interview Monday.
Maute praised Robinson’s engagement in the community and said she brings gender and geographic diversity to the board. Maute and the other three trustees live in the southern portion of the village, while Robinson lives in the north end.
Robinson has volunteered for years at St. Mary’s Church and its elementary school, and she said a friend from the church urged her to apply for the opening on the Village Board.
The mother of four also volunteers with her children’s Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops and serves on the board of the Western New York International Dyslexia Association.
“I’m a firm believer in active citizenship,” Robinson told The News.
She is the first woman to serve on the Village Board since Trustee Mary Marino resigned in May 2005. Maute said at Monday’s meeting that he believes only one other woman, Darlene Humphrey, has served as a Lancaster village trustee. Humphrey, who served on the board from 1981 to 1993, emailed The News today to confirm she was the first woman elected to that body.
Robinson is a member of the Citizens Party, as are Maute and the rest of the trustees. Her husband, James, is a former Lancaster fire chief and a detective lieutenant with the Lancaster Police Department.
Robinson received a loud round of applause at Monday’s board meeting after Maute administered the oath of office and welcomed her to the Village Board.
She did not make any remarks after taking her seat as a trustee, and she seemed to prefer letting the other trustees take the lead in making, seconding and voting on motions at her first meeting.
However, the four other board members encouraged her to chime in on an innocuous spending request. They gave a broad hint by remaining silent instead of seconding that particular motion.
“I’ll second,” said Robinson, taking the hint. She smiled broadly as Trustee Edward M. Marki pumped his fist and members of the audience chuckled.
Asked after the meeting how it felt to join the Village Board and receive her committee assignments, Robinson replied, “I guess I’m going to be busy.”