Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda Republican Committee Chairperson Bill Paton stepped down from his position on Monday after more than 10 years at the helm. He will be replaced by longtime committeeman Michael Carney after a vote among members.
Paton, 62, who led the committee after taking over from current North Tonawanda City Attorney Shawn Nickerson, oversaw the recent dominance of the Republican Party in the Lumber City, during which the party captured every one of the common council open seats since 2007 as well as two commanding victories by Mayor Rob Ortt.
Paton, who was recently hired to a part-time position with the county, said he was ready to move on but will remain a committee member.
“I’m in a position right now that I felt it was time for somebody new to take over and lead,” he said. “I’m just at a point where I’m looking at more time with my family. It’s time for somebody else to move in.”
Paton said it was a team effort among the committee’s 52 members that led to its recent political successes, while he credits Carney with having the experience to carry the committee forward.
Carney, 52, who has been a committee member since the late 1990s, was a North Tonawanda Common Council member in 2001 and 2002 and served one term on the North Tonawanda School Board. He also launched two failed bids for the Niagara County Legislature.
Carney is employed as deputy Republican commissioner for the Niagara County Board of Elections, a position he held onto following a DWI arrest in April of last year, when he was placed on unpaid leave for 30 days before returning.
Despite his recent troubles, Carney said in the coming months the committee will turn its attention to rallying its members to get behind state Sen. George Maziarz, Assemblyman John Ceretto and the Republican candidate for governor — which appears to have narrowed down to Donald Trump and downstate Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
“I think our goal this year is to support those candidates then move on to make sure our team is ready for the 2015 elections in North Tonawanda,” he said.