Niagara Gazette — TOWN OF NIAGARA — Town government will enter the post-Steve Richards era with a woman in charge.
During a special meeting Wednesday, members of the town council voted unanimously to appoint longtime Town Clerk Sylvia Virtuoso as deputy supervisor. She will hold the job through Dec. 31 and will continue to serve in the dual capacity of town clerk for the same time period. A townwide election will be held this fall to elect a new supervisor whose term would begin in 2015.
In accepting the deputy post, Virtuoso becomes the first female to serve in a supervisory capacity in the town’s history. She also agreed to take over duties held for the past 18 years by Richards who left office after 18 years earlier this month as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors in a public corruption investigation.
“I plan to keep us all working together,” Virtuoso said following the board’s vote. “The past is done. We are only going forward.”
Richards faced a 23-count public corruption indictment before agreeing to a deal with prosecutors that saw him plead guilty to a single charge of official misconduct. As part of the agreement, Richards was required to tender his resignation as supervisor.
Council members voted unanimously Wednesday to formally accept Richards’ resignation in advance of naming Virtuoso as deputy.
Before being sworn in to her new position by Town Justice John Teixeira, Virtuoso pledged to run an “open and transparent government,” with the interests of residents as her main priority.
“I hope this great team will make all of you proud,” Virtuoso said, referring to the members of the council and her colleagues in the various town departments.
Town officials said the council had the power to appoint anyone to the post, including any interested council members. Had any councilman accepted the job, he would have had to resign from the board and would have been required to run for re-election later this year.