Tonawanda News

September 14, 2012

Mayor's right hand man to resign

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — City of Tonawanda Administrative Assistant Sam Iraci is set to resign in the next four to six weeks, according to city council members.

Mayor Ron Pilozzi sent out an email to the council Tuesday afternoon announcing Iraci's departure, which will likely occur sometime in October. Iraci has served as the mayor's assistant for about four years. 

"He will stay around because he has some things to finish up," Council member Richard Slisz said. 

Council member Blake Boyle was concerned about the announcement.

"We are going to be losing someone fantastic for the city," he said. "If there was something I could do to make him stay, I would do it in a heartbeat." 

Board President Carleton Zeisz echoed Boyle's thoughts.

"His expertise and the time he has been here has been very helpful," Zeisz said. "He will certainly be missed."

Boyle hopes that Iraci is sticking around for a few weeks to resolve negotiations with Natale Builders regarding the possible sale of the Little League Drive property to the developer. 

"Carleton Zeisz has been talking about that for eight years," Boyle said. "And Iraci has been our main contact with Natale. So I hope that's the case." 

Boyle said Natale is coming to the council's next meeting Sep. 18. Negotiations with the company have been going on for two years and likely include questions over who will pay nearly $2 million to complete infrastructure work at the site, which does not have water or sewer lines.

But Boyle also pointed out a number of other ongoing projects that Iraci has been a part of and could continue to work on in the next weeks. 

"There is also Spaulding Fibre, the pavilion, water works that now sits vacant," Boyle said. "All these things need tightening up." 

Both Pilozzi and Iraci declined to comment on Iraci's departure. 

Iraci was hired in his current role about four years ago and came to the city highly qualified. He served as Elmira city manager for 10 years and was a deputy mayor in Buffalo for six years during Jimmy Griffin's administration.

Iraci has his masters in public administration from Canisius College. 

"He knows how to do just about everything, like privatizing the housing authority," Boyle said. "He's done that. I think that's something we should look at too." 

At the time of Iraci's hiring, the city estimated they would save about $20,000 in benefits per year due to Iraci's salary limitations. Iraci was officially retired and was receiving pension benefits from the state. 

"He saved the city in salary alone," Boyle said. 

Despite all Iraci has brought to the area, Boyle said he can understand why he would resign. 

"Our council is stalled," Boyle said. "If I was him, I would feel discouraged and leave also. Nothing is getting done, it's all talking."

The position is a requirement in the city's charter, so the vacancy will have to be filled.

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.