Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

April 24, 2013

Norris steps down as county GOP chair

Kiedrowksi to chair GOP, Tucker takes reins at IDA

BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

 

Michael J. Norris has resigned as Niagara County Republican Party chairman, following his appointment as Town of Lockport attorney on Wednesday.

Although not legally required to, Norris resigned the chairmanship he had held since November 2009. Norris said he will also resign his position as deputy corporation counsel for the city of Lockport.

"I'll be leaving that post as well," Norris said.
 
Norris wrote a letter to the county GOP citing his reason for leaving. Working as the town attorney and as a party chairman it simply was "not viable to maintain this level of involvement and it is not in my nature to do a job in a half-hearted manner," Norris said in the letter.
 
“The position of town attorney will require me to commit a significant amount of my time and energy to providing legal services to the Town of Lockport. There are only so many hours in one day,” Norris said.
 
Norris announced his move Wednesday as the Lockport Town Board named him to the $113,809-a-year town attorney post vacated last week by his law partner, Daniel E. Seaman. Seaman will remain attorney for the town's Industrial Development Agency, while the firm will continue to handle legal issues for a few municipalities, such as the town of Royalton and the village of Middleport.
 
North Tonawanda Clerk-Treasurer Scott P. Kiedrowski, first vice chairman of the Niagara GOP executive committee, will serve as interim chairman, effective immediately, according to the letter Norris sent to the GOP.
 
Kiedrowski, who has served as the committees' vice chairman, said he was informed Monday of Norris's intention to vacate the post, and that he would be made chairman as part of the rules of the county GOP. 
 
"Theres no requirement for a vote," Kiedrowski said. "There's an automatic ascendancy." 
 
In accepting the chairmanship, Kiedrowski, 44, stepped down from the county Industrial Development Agency on Wednesday. Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker, who served as the IDA's interim chair after Henry Sloma left earlier this year, said he will again become as interim head.
 
Tucker, who was the IDA vice chairman, said he has no desire to serve as chairman indefinitely.
 
"My first priority is the city of Lockport," Tucker said. "I'll stay for a little while, but I don't plan on forever. I'm open to staying until the March reorganization, but that's the absolute longest."
 
The agency is a major part of economic development in Niagara County, Tucker said, so his presence on the board of directors is a benefit for Lockport. It allows him to keep in contact with the movers and shakers of the county, Tucker said.
 
Kiedrowski was appointed to the IDA board in January, becoming its chairperson in March. He's also served as the Niagara County Republican Board of Elections commissioner and a state GOP committeeman. 
 
Kiedrowski is in his second term as the North Tonawanda clerk-treasurer, a position he said will take preeminence over the GOP chairmanship. 
 
"That's very important to me," he said. "While I'm very happy to run these activities, my number one priority is North Tonawanda, being the county GOP chair is second to that."
 
Yet, he said, as the Republican Party maintains a firm grip on Niagara County outside of Niagara Falls, he will continue to move the party forward.
 
"I've been involved with the party structure for many years, I've sat in many different seats and I've seen the election process from A to Z," he said. "I feel like I have the acumen to very easily take the leadership post. It all comes down to good government attracting good candidates. We must be doing something right. A lot of our candidates are continue on in office and continuing the hard work in reducing the size of government."