It took just one vote for the Dunkirk City Democratic Commit-tee to make its selection to fill a vacancy on Common Council. Willie Rosas, a lifelong city resident and retired New York State Police Trooper, was the committee's pick with 13 of the 22 votes eligible to be cast.
The City Code states the replacement must be a member of the same party as the person who resigned, and may be nominated by the City Committee of that party.
Rosas will now have to be confirmed by council to fill the vacancy created when Democrat Stephanie Kiyak, former councilwoman-at-large, resigned Aug. 5. If confirmed by council, Rosas would then serve until Dec. 31 of this year. The council position will be on the ballot this November to fill the remaining year of Kiyak's two-year term which began Jan. 1 of this year.
County Democratic Election Commissioner Norm Green explained the timing issue.
"The appointment doesn't trigger the election, the vacancy does. The city clerk has notified the Board of Elections of the vacancy," Green stated.
Rosas said he was "pleasantly surprised" with getting the nomination from the committee.
"I expected to get some votes. I know there was two other good candidates there and I'm just honored," he added.
Rosas was asked his plans presuming he gets council's approval to serve with them.
"If I'm approved, one of the first things I want to do is meet with the council people and get a feel of things," he replied. "I want to make sure I'm up to date on all the issues and I'm aware of all the inner ongoings that I may not be aware of at this point.
"I have a lot of time on my hands now, as I stated to the committee. I plan on being busy at meetings and also a lot of behind-the scenes work getting to know the issues. There's a lot of issues that have a lot of facts behind the scenes that I'm not aware of, I'm sure, but I plan to become educated really soon."
Rosas said there were a lot of things at the top of his list to see happen.
"I know there's a lot of water lines that need to be replaced or repaired, that would be one of the priorities," he explained. "The seawall, of course, is another and making sure we progress in bringing in some big business for jobs, we need some good jobs to keep people here."
Rosas was asked what got him interested in politics.
"I was a member of the committee for years and I was asked to run in the past. I didn't have much of an interest, but over the years since I haven't really been working, I've had more time," he replied. "I've become aware of some of the issues and I was asked to run again and I thought this time I was ready."
City Democratic Commit-tee Chairman Frank Gaw-ronski was pleased with the result, calling all three candidates who applied qualified. In addition to Rosas, city Zoning Board Chairman Bob Bankoski and Dunkirk Historical Society President Michael Civiletto both expressed interest in the position. Civiletto addressed the committee before the vote while committee member Don Williams spoke briefly about Bankoski, who missed the meeting due to a long-planned family vacation.
"It was close, but Willie got the majority. We needed to get 13 votes to not vote again and Willie got the 13 he needed," Gawronski said.
Calling Rosas a good candidate, Gawronski added he didn't think the committee would nominate someone else to run in November.
Council is scheduled to meet today at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall and could address filling the vacancy under new business. According to the City Code under Section 2-2.03, council has 30 days to fill the vacancy by appointment by a majority vote. If no decision is reached by then, the at-large - or in this case, the acting at-large councilman - will fill the vacancy. Council's next meeting after today is set for Sept. 2.
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