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LOCKPORT – Richard P. Mullaney’s 30-year tenure as city budget director may be coming to an end.

The Common Council voted Wednesday to issue a request for proposals from those interested in serving as part-time budget consultant.

That vote came after the aldermen interviewed a candidate for the job, Craig E. Speers of Buffalo, who retired in 2010 after 36 years auditing municipal budgets on the Buffalo staff of the State Comptroller’s Office.

“Craig Speers is definitely a top consideration for us,” said Alderwoman Anne E. McCaffrey, R-2nd Ward.

She said Speers “comes highly recommended” by Samuel F. Iraci Jr., the former Buffalo deputy mayor who is now serving as the city’s part-time labor negotiations consultant.

“Just about every municipality in this county I’ve helped, budgeted, audited,” Speers said. “My sector with the State Comptroller’s Office was Niagara and Orleans counties.”

Mullaney worked on his 30th city budget this fall. He retired as city clerk and budget director at the end of 2011 but signed a one-year, $12,000 consulting contract to work on the budget.

Asked if the Council is willing to spend more than $12,000 for budget help, McCaffrey replied, “I guess it depends on the qualifications.”

“It’s not a shot at Dick [Mullaney],” Mayor Michael W. Tucker said. “Dick’s done a bang-up job and continues to do a bang-up job. He’s been an invaluable employee.”

Tucker denied there was friction between Mullaney and the Council during the budget process.

“Not a bit. I think they just need some fresh eyes,” the mayor said.

Facing the potential of a major tax increase or layoffs as all five city union contracts were expiring, the Council passed a budget Nov. 21, six weeks after the date specified in the City Charter.

The spending plan avoided a tax increase by assuming that the unions would make major concessions on benefit costs and by drastically cutting overtime allocations to figures that have not been achieved in more than a decade.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com