By Michael Regan and Joe Olenick
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda Clerk-Treasurer Scott Kiedrowski will lead the Niagara County Republican Committee as part of a shake-up in the GOP ranks ahead of November’s municipal and county-level elections.
Niagara Republican Committee Chairman Michael Norris announced Wednesday that he will bow out of the position he has held since 2009 to become the Town of Lockport attorney.
Kiedrowski, who has served as the committee’s vice chairman, said he was informed Monday of Norris’s intention to vacate the post. The chairmanship would pass to him under party rules and the leadership change would not require authorization or an election by committee members.
“There’s no requirement for a vote,” Kiedrowski said. “There’s an automatic ascendancy.”
In accepting the chairmanship, Kiedrowski, 44, stepped down as chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency on Wednesday — a group he’d been tapped to lead only last month. Lockport Mayor Michael Tucker, who served as the IDA’s interim chair after Henry Sloma left earlier this year, said he will again become the interim head.
Kiedrowski was appointed to the IDA board in January, becoming its chairperson in March. He’s also served as the Niagara County Republican 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 priority 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 year, 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.”
Norris resigned the chairmanship 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 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.
As for the future of NCIDA, Tucker said he’s willing to stay on through a planned reorganization next year but has no interest in running things at Inducon Parkway long-term.
“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.”