Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

February 26, 2014

Kibler named Council president

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Change continues at One Locks Plaza, as at-large Alderman Joseph C. Kibler has been appointed as Lockport Common Council president, Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey announced Monday.

Kibler replaces McCaffrey, who was sworn in as mayor on Monday morning. McCaffrey became the chief executive as per the city charter when Michael W. Tucker resigned this past Friday to take a position in the private sector.

But the new mayor isn’t finished with finding her Council replacements. McCaffrey is accepting resumes until Friday from people who are interested in succeeding her as the 2nd Ward alderman on the Council. She plans to make an appointment sometime next week, possibly by the next Council meeting on March 5.

According to the city charter, the alderman must live within the ward’s boundaries and be a registered Republican, since McCaffrey is a member of that party. The Common Council president is appointed by the mayor, as is any Council replacements.

McCaffrey said Kibler’s experience and rapport with the community made him the right choice for the Council’s top spot.

“He brings a lot of experience,” she said. “Everyone knows and trusts Joe, with everything going on I thought we needed some stability there.”

Kibler is serving his seventh consecutive term as alderman-at-large, his 14th year total on the Council. During his time as an alderman, Kibler said he has served on all of the group’s standing committees and presently chairs the Public Health and Safety committee. He is the Council’s liaison to the Police Board.

Kibler said he served as Common Council president in 2012, adding he didn’t think he did a very good job because of health problems he was having at the time. But, Kibler 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.

There are challenges facing the city, such as another audit by the state Comptroller’s Office and the impending report from the attorney investigating the use of Tucker’s city credit card to pay over $9,000 in expenses for a golf tournament fundraiser for the Youth and Recreation Department.

To start, McCaffrey said she is in the process of meeting with each department head. She also met with Norman Allen, the city’s director of engineering, about how to deal with Lockport’s pothole epidemic. The number of potholes might be the worst the city has ever seen, McCaffrey said, so it’s an issue that needs to be dealt with immediately.

She said plans will be unveiled over the next few days on how the city will deal with the excessive amount of potholes.

In another matter, McCaffrey said Tuesday she intends on asking the Common Council to declare the city issued vehicle for the mayor as unnecessary and to authorize the auctioning of the car immediately. McCaffrey said she does not want to replace it.

“Considering the serious financial conditions facing our city, the issuance of a city owned vehicle to the mayor is clearly an unnecessary expense to city taxpayers. As the chief executive officer of our city, it is important that I lead by example and that’s why I am putting an end to the use of LP1,” McCaffrey said in a statement, referring to the vehicle’s license plate number.

Third Ward Alderwoman Kathryn “Kitty” Fogle has agreed to sponsor the resolution to auction off the 2009 Dodge Charger.

Once approved by the Council, “proceeds of the sale will be used towards the budget deficit and city taxpayers will also save on the annual cost of maintenance and gas for this vehicle,” McCaffrey said.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.