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OLEAN – It came as a shock to all involved in city government Tuesday afternoon when Ward 1 Alderman James Brady stepped down from his position on the Common Council.

Council President Ann McLaughlin told the Council on Tuesday that earlier in the day she received an email from Brady announcing his intent to resign from the position effective immediately.

McLaughlin said Brady told her: “I enjoyed working with you over the years. Best of luck to the City of Olean in the future.”

“We are sad to see him go. He always provided us with some constructive debate,” McLaughlin said. “He allowed the Council to review matters and receive insight that none of us would have considered. On behalf of the Council, we wish him best of luck.”

Mayor Linda Witte echoed the sentiments.

“I want to wish Jim well,” she said. “He had a lot of enthusiasm for being here. We didn’t always agree. Anytime someone puts himself out in public, we all should appreciate that, because not everyone is going to do that. I want to wish him well and thank him for his service.”

Brady, an accountant, said that, for someone who had worked at the federal level to reduce taxes and spending, it had just hit a point of no return.

“Sometimes you just have to do what your guts tell you to do, and this is what my gut tells me I need to do,” he said.

“When I [took office] one of my goals was to cut spending. We went through a very tough period in the city where spending was atrocious. Then we started to save and make different decisions.

“I got to the point where I went home for lunch and thought about things like the water rates. I just couldn’t do it anymore.”

Brady added, “It had gotten to the point where every week it seemed like we went up and just spent more money. I didn’t want to go up there any more. I just have better use of my time.”

Brady started his run in Olean city government when he was appointed to then-Mayor David Carucci’s finance committee.

“Maybe eight years is long enough,” he said.

Brady was elected to his second term of office Jan. 2, and it is set to expire Dec. 31, 2014.

According to the City Charter, a super majority approval of a mayoral appointment is required to complete the term.

Witte will be looking for a replacement in Ward 1 very soon, according to Council staff.