LEWISTON – In an unexpected move last month, Councilman Michael Marra resigned from the Town Board, effective immediately.
And Monday, the Town Board – with little discussion on the issue – approved advertising for his replacement.
The move came after Supervisor Dennis J. Brochey asked board members what to do about the vacancy.
Marra, who had served on both the town and village boards for a total of 10 years, still had three years left on his four-year term.
There has been criticism from Niagara County Democratic Chairman Nick Forster that, in Lewiston, it has “become a pattern” to appoint people to fill positions, instead of holding special elections.
In February, Councilman Ernest Palmer resigned and a Republican, William Conrad, was chosen by the three-member majority to fill his seat. However, he faces an election.
Whoever is appointed by the board to fill Marra’s seat also will have to run for election.
In another matter, another familiar face at Lewiston Town Board meetings, Michael Johnson, announced his retirement, effective Aug. 25.
Johnson had been a councilman for 14 years, then served as the town budget director for four years and finance director for eight months. Johnson ran unsuccessfully for the job as supervisor against Brochey. One of the first new appointments Brochey made was to replace Johnson. The Republican majority rejected a bid by Brochey to remove Johnson prior to his planned retirement date.
Johnson, who turned 62 on Monday, said he plans to remain active as a real estate agent.
In another matter, the board discussed continuing plans to improve drainage on Riverwalk Drive.
Town Highway Superintendent Douglas Janese said pipe will soon be installed, but told the board that the larger problem is stagnant water throughout the Riverwalk development.
“In some areas of the green space water just sits there all summer long and stagnant water is a problem,” Janese said.
He suggested the board consider do something to address the larger issue and the board took the matter under advisement.
To be discussed at the board’s meeting Aug. 25 a plan to adopt a moratorium on the disposal of sludge, sewage and septage. A public hearing on the issuer will be held prior to the meeting at 6 p.m.
The moratorium is designed to make sure no land-use applications are granted until the board has had time to study and enact amendments to town code.