LOCKPORT – On her first business day as mayor, Anne E. McCaffrey on Monday chose Alderman Joseph C. Kibler, R-at large, to succeed her as president of the Common Council.
She also vowed fast action on repairing potholes that have left many city streets badly damaged because of the harsh winter.
McCaffrey also said after a Republican Committee meeting Monday night that she will accept résumés until Friday at her office from people who are interested in succeeding her in the 2nd Ward seat on the Council.
Friday, when Michael W. Tucker resigned as mayor, McCaffrey, as Council president, moved up to the top job.
The Council president is chosen by the mayor, who also has the power to fill any vacant seats on the Council.
McCaffrey said she intends to fill the 2nd Ward seat by the next Council meeting March 5. Besides living in the ward, the appointee must be a Republican, because McCaffrey is a member of that party.
After a conference with Norman D. Allen, director of engineering and public works, McCaffrey said the city is checking whether it can get an earlier-than-usual supply of “hot patch” to fill potholes. It probably would cost the city extra, the mayor said, but the numbers aren’t yet known.
Kibler said he was “surprised” to become Council president again.
He said that when he held the post in 2012, he didn’t think he did a very good job because of health problems he was having at the time. He said he’s sure he will do better this time because of McCaffrey’s example.
“After watching her do it for a year, I picked up a few things,” Kibler said.
Kibler, 80, is serving his seventh two-year term as alderman at large. McCaffrey, he said, will do a “good job” as mayor. “At least she’ll listen to us,” he said.
McCaffrey pledged “an action agenda which tackles the difficult financial matters facing our city, implementing much-needed reforms and continuing crucial economic- and tourism-development projects in our community.”
The city is being audited again by the State Comptroller’s Office, which last fall deemed Lockport “fiscally stressed.”
There is also a controversy over the use of Tucker’s city credit card to pay $9,000 in expenses for a restaurant’s golf tournament that was supposed to have raised money for the Youth and Recreation Department. Kibler said the report of attorney Brian D. Doyle, hired to investigate the case, is coming soon.
On the labor front, Kibler said the Council is willing to meet with the city labor unions directly if necessary to iron out contract agreements. Of the five bargaining units, only the police union has a current contract.
Earlier this month, Kevin W. Pratt, president of the firefighters union, accused Tucker of blocking an agreement the Council wanted to submit.