LOCKPORT – Anne E. McCaffrey formally took the oath of office as Lockport’s 57th mayor Wednesday, telling residents that she knows their faith in city government has been shaken by the city’s fiscal crisis and the resignation of her predecessor.
“We intend to show you not merely by words, but by actions, that there is a reason to believe in your city again,” the 46-year-old Republican said during a 5-minute inaugural address that drew a long standing ovation from a crowd of more than 200 in the Historic Palace Theatre.
McCaffrey served less than 14 months as Common Council president before her automatic succession to the mayor’s post when Michael W. Tucker resigned Feb. 21. Wednesday was the first regularly scheduled Council meeting since then.
After taking the oath from City Judge William J. Watson with her husband and three teenage children around her, McCaffrey praised her Council colleagues.
“We have a solid team. We’ve gone through a lot the last few months, and I know that together, we can turn things around,” she said.
The city is being audited by the State Comptroller’s Office for the second consecutive year after being deemed “fiscally stressed.” And a flap over alleged misuse of Tucker’s city credit card by Youth and Recreation Director Melissa I. Junke is currently being investigated.
McCaffrey ordered the city credit cards cut up as one of her first acts.
Tucker was not mentioned Wednesday, except in a formal mention of his resignation in the list of correspondence.
McCaffrey vowed, “My first promise to you is to listen more.”
The new mayor appealed to citizens for “your partnership and your prayers,” and pledged to make changes.
She said she intends “to restructure city government from top to bottom, and keep costs down and keep Lockport affordable.”
“My primary goal is to reinstill confidence in our city government,” she said.
Also sworn in were Alderman Joseph C. Kibler to succeed McCaffrey as Council president and Ronald A. Franco to take McCaffrey’s seat as 2nd Ward alderman. Both are Republicans.
In a brief business meeting, the Council agreed to place Tucker’s former city car up for bids in an online auction starting today on the Auctions International website. The black 2009 Dodge Charger has about 60,000 miles on it, McCaffrey said.
The Council also hired GHD Consulting Services of Amherst for $4,600 to revise the city sewer ordinance. Alderman Patrick W. Schrader, D-4th Ward, said the revision is needed to include new federal clean-water regulations.
The Council also renewed an employment contract with part-time code enforcer Robert Turner, at $12.50 per hour for a maximum of 25 hours a week.
McCaffrey also asked the aldermen to attend a briefing on ethical issues for elected officials next Thursday in City Hall.
Attorney John Mancini of the New York Conference of Mayors will give the training, which McCaffrey said is free because Lockport is a member.