Longtime Supervisor Steven C. Richards has officially stepped down from office.
Richards, who is expected to appear in court next week as part of an ongoing case involving public corruption charges, submitted a formal letter of resignation to Town Clerk Sylvia Virtuoso on Friday.
The letter, which was addressed to members of the town council, indicates that Richards will no longer be supervisor as of close of business on Friday and that he resigned his position "for the purpose of retirement."
"I'm not completely shocked that he did it, now we just have to wait and see what else happens," said Councilman Rob Clark.
Richards is scheduled to appear at 9 a.m. Monday in state Supreme Court in Lockport. Multiple sources have told the Gazette that Richards’ defense team and prosecutors with the New York State Attorney General’s Office have been negotiating a deal that would see Richards plead guilty to one of the charges in a now 23-count indictment he faces as well as step down from office.
Neither the attorney general’s office nor Richards’ attorneys have commented on what was described earlier this week as “ongoing talks” aimed at reaching a deal in the case.
Jury selection in a trial for Richards had been set for this coming Monday. Instead, Buffalo-based State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns is slated to travel to Niagara County for what has been listed as a “conference and hearing.”
Richards resignation or retirement as town supervisor was also reported to be part of the plea discussions.
Town councilman Dan Sklarski serves as deputy supervisor, a position that requires him to assume the duties of the supervisor when he is ill or out of town for an extended period. Town council members said it's not clear to them whether Sklarski will be allowed to assume the role of supervisor pending a special election in this case.