LOCKPORT – Henry M. Sloma, who resigned from the board of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency a year ago, was reappointed to that board Tuesday by the County Legislature.
Sloma, who had been on the board since August 2005, serving most of that time as chairman, stepped down because he thought a new consulting business he was starting might produce conflicts of interest. Now he says it hasn’t worked out that way.
“As my business developed, I developed a niche that doesn’t deal with the IDA,” Sloma said by telephone after the Legislature meeting. “Things are starting to happen in Niagara Falls and Niagara County. They thought my eight years of experience might be helpful.”
Sloma’s seat on the IDA board was taken by North Tonawanda City Clerk-Treasurer Scott P. Kiedrowski, who was chosen as chairman as well. But he presided over only one meeting before resigning from the board in April to become chairman of the county Republican Committee.
The Legislature hadn’t filled the vacancy, so Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker, the IDA vice chairman, has been in charge since Kiedrowski’s departure, although he was never formally named chairman.
Asked if he would resume the chairmanship, Sloma said, “That’s yet to be determined.” The IDA holds its reorganization meeting in March.
Asked if he asked to come back or if he was recruited by county leaders, Sloma said, “It’s a little of each.”
Sloma’s reappointment was the only unexpected item at a highly routine Legislature meeting.
Although the Lockport area was virtually unscathed by the blizzard, there have been problems in North Tonawanda, where there was a driving ban Tuesday, and in Niagara Falls.
However, by rule, Tuesday was the latest date the reorganization meeting could be held, and all but one legislator made it to the meeting. Kathryn L. Lance, R-Wheatfield, was the absentee.
William L. Ross, who was chosen as Legislature chairman for the 11th time and the seventh year in a row, skipped the scheduled State of the County address in an effort to get his colleagues home as early as possible in view of the inclement weather.
Ross, C-Wheatfield, said he will give his speech at the Jan. 21 meeting.
The rest of the top leadership will remain unchanged. Clyde L. Burmaster, R-Ransomville, will continue as vice chairman for the 13th time. Majority Leader Richard E. Updegrove, R-Lockport, and Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, also will remain in place, as the Republicans hold an 11-4 edge over the Democrats.
That’s a gain of one seat for the Democrats, who ousted GOP incumbent Cheree J. Copelin in Niagara Falls’ 3rd District in the November election. Her Democratic replacement is Mark J. Grozio, assistant business manager of Local 237, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
There are two new Republicans in the Legislature, both from North Tonawanda.
Richard Andres, who had been president of the North Tonawanda Common Council, was elected unopposed to succeed the retiring Peter E. Smolinski in the 8th District.
Randy R. Bradt, a financial planner, succeeds to the 9th District seat, which had been held by Paul B. Wojtaszek, who ran unsuccessfully for State Supreme Court.
The Legislature reappointed several patronage officeholders, including Legislature Clerk Mary Jo Tamburlin, County Attorney Claude A. Joerg and Public Defender David J. Farrugia.