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Thursday, June 11, 2015
By +Scott Leffler

Mike White
City of Lockport Treasurer Mike White wishes First-Ward Alderman John Lombardi the best in “future endeavors” — especially since those endeavors no longer include running against White for the treasurer’s post.

Lombardi withdrew from the race Wednesday morning and White issued a statement to East Niagara Post hoping that Lombardi would push to maintain the treasurer’s position and salary as it currently is.

The Common Council voted in May to direct the city attorney to draw up language to change the duties of the treasurer. The Council is expected to vote in July to change the pay of the position to be in line with the suggested — reduced — duties. Lombardi abstained from the May vote and had announced his intentions to abstain in July as well, feeling that a candidate for treasurer would have a conflict of interest in voting on the job’s duties or pay.

White also called for a review by the city's Ethics Committee of the Common Council action to strip his office of duties prematurely, which he calls a violation of the city Charter.

White’s statement follows in its entirety:
Mr. Lombardi did, in fact, call me recently to indicate that he will no longer stay in the race for the Office of City Treasurer. I thanked him for letting me know and wished him the best through the remainder of his term as First-Ward Alderman and in his future endeavors. I also reminded him that, as a current member of the Common Council, some very important decisions would be made as the year progresses. In fact, one of the biggest votes coming up will be to change the City Charter to downgrade the Office of the City Treasurer’s duties. Remember that on May 20th, Mr. Lombardi abstained from voting on resolution #052015.5 giving authority to the City Attorney to move forward on preparation of the language for this action, citing a conflict of interest because of his intentions to become the new Chief Financial Officer. As stated previously, the changes can only take place if the voters say so. I also made him aware that, regardless of who the treasurer will be, the salary that can only be voted on in July should be commensurate with the duties of the Office of the City Treasurer by Charter. I, once again, express my concerns about the Committee to Review the Duties and Salary of the Treasurer. This group was set up and charged with the investigation, which should have included a full review of past and present duties performed, and before moving forward realize that they do not match what was listed in the Charter Amendment presented. I stand firm in the belief that the action to prematurely take away duties of the Office of the City Treasurer and assign someone else is a violation of said Charter. This is no different than getting a ticket for parking in the street after two o'clock in the morning (a clear violation). I believe this matter should be reviewed by the recently established Ethics Committee before further action is taken. I hope now that Mr. Lombardi has withdrawn from the race, he will base his vote on doing his due diligence and not some backroom negotiations. I hope that after my comments to the Common Council, they will follow Mrs. Mullane and work to get more informed of the duties of the Office of the City Treasurer. In the meantime, I look forward to a clean, competitive race for the Office of City Treasurer in November." 

With Lombardi withdrawing — and barring any more candidates entering the race — White is slated to take on Sue A. Mawhiney, who is running on the Democratic line in the November general election.

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