By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Second Ward Alderman Rich Andres retained the North Tonawanda Common Council presidency with the unanimous backing of his colleagues Wednesday during an annual reorganizational meeting.
Andres, who has been a council member for three years, served his first year in the leadership role in 2012 after the outgoing president Cathy Schwandt stepped down.
“I talked to the council members individually and asked them if they thought it would be a good fit,” Andres said of his initial interest in the leading the council last year. “It was unanimous.”
In a 5-0 decision, his colleagues lauded his first year in the president as one of efficiency and effectiveness.
Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka, who seconded his nomination Wednesday behind Alderwoman Nancy Donovan, said he was impressed with Andres’ first year.
“He has leadership skills,” Zadzilka said. “And I think his experience with the city’s master plan also came into play.”
Donovan added that she felt Andres’ professionalism and decision-making were also factors for the council’s unanimity.
“I think that he proved his ability to lead this council,” she said.
Andres said the fact that the council is mostly Republican, with one member, Russ Rizzo an independent, “held the coalition together.”
“There’s disagreements over the course of the year,” he said. “But you try to be the negotiator and peace-maker. You try to make sure that everybody has their say. There’s a lot of personalities, but I try to keep everyone on the same page. It’s important.”
In other council new:
• The council unanimously approved Mayor Rob Ortt’s selections for a variety of city positions. They include the following: Donald French and Paul Hempel, waterfront commission; Thomas Jaccarino, planning commission; Anthony DiBernardo, traffic safety committee; Donald Evans and Jacob Haacker, zoning board of appeals; Kathy Norris, Bingo inspector; Joseph Fonzi, environmental committee.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.