Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 21, 2014

Tucker cites "private sector work" for sudden resignation

LOCKPORT - Michael W. Tucker's run as the city's longest-serving mayor is over.

After a decade of occupying the top post at One Locks Plaza, Tucker resigned Friday, a move that was effective immediately. Tucker will also leave his position with the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, where he was serving as interim chairman of the board of directors.

Tucker's resignation comes at a time when city officials are under fire for Lockport's poor financial condition. He has also been involved in an ongoing controversy surrounding the use of Tucker's city credit card to pay for a golf tournament fundraiser that ultimately lost money. 

Earlier this month, the Common Council hired an outside investigator to look at alleged misuse of a city credit card. Melissa Junke, the city youth and recreation director, used the card to cover the expenses of a golf tournament fundraiser for her department. Junke's attorney George V.C. Muscato said this week that Tucker and city officials knew about the tournament in advance. (See story on 7A for more information on Muscato's response). 

Tucker announced his resignation in a prepared statement released Friday afternoon, although word of his departure made the rounds at City Hall by the morning. Employees reportedly had no idea of the mayor's intent when they reported to work that morning. The Common Council wasn't aware of Tucker's resignation until Friday.

City Alderwoman Anne E. McCaffrey will assume the role of interim mayor and sign the oath of office as Tucker's full-time successor on Monday. A formal swearing-in ceremony is planned for the Common Council meeting at 6 p.m. March 5.

McCaffrey will complete Tucker's term, which ends Dec. 31, 2015, roughly a year and 10 months. If she wants to stay mayor, McCaffrey would have to run for office in the November 2015 election.

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