Outgoing Supervisor Steve Reiter has been granted a leave of absence through the end of the year.
During a meeting in executive session Tuesday evening, members of the town board were presented with a letter from Reiter, asking them to excuse him from service as supervisor through the end of his term on Dec. 31. Following the executive session, the board formally reconvened to accept Reiter's request.
For the remainder of the year, Deputy Supervisor Gary Catlin will oversee duties related to the town's top post. Supervisor-elect Dennis Brochey is in line to take over those responsibilities starting in 2014.
Town of Lewiston attorney Michael Dowd confirmed the board's decision on Wednesday. He declined additional comment, referring all questions to Catlin who said Reiter's letter did not specify his reasons for requesting the leave. Catlin said the leave was granted without pay.
"I want to thank Steve Reiter for his dedicated service for many, many years to the town," Catlin said. "He has served a lot of different departments. I don't think we will ever have a supervisor who knew the ins and outs of the town like Steve did. It's a loss for the town."
Reiter faced several challenges - both personally and politically - in the past year. He was temporarily sidelined in June following heart surgery. Around the same time, the Lewiston Republican Party stopped circulating nominating petitions on his behalf, choosing instead to support town councilman Ernie Palmer as the endorsed GOP candidate for supervisor.
The move followed a visit to town hall by agents from the FBI and the New York State Attorney General's Office who have been following up on items flagged during a 2011 audit by the state Comptroller's Office, including use of town fuel supplies by town employees and drainage work performed by the town's highway department.
When asked, Catlin said Reiter did not indicate either in his letter or to him personally that his decision to leave office early had anything to do with the visits to town hall by federal or state authorities.
"That was never discussed with me," Catlin said. "I don't know that. You'd have to get that from Mr. Reiter. To my knowledge, that was never discussed."
Reiter, who has served as supervisor since January 2011, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Catlin said residents will likely not notice a change in operations at the town during his tenure, noting that the main topic of discussion on the table at the moment remains the 2014 budget.
He added that he's looking forward to working with Brochey in the weeks ahead and said the town board plans to invite him in before the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition to his administration.
"I wish the new supervisor well," Catlin said.