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Extra candidate for board seat a surprise

Things were "shaking out" earlier this week in the selection of a new Cheektowaga town supervisor, according to the Democratic chairman, but it looks like a whole lot more shaking may be going on this weekend.

There's an extra candidate for a Town Board seat that Chairman Frank Max was not counting on a week ago.

Max said he received a letter Thursday from Patricia Wojcik, the former director of the senior services department, saying she is interested in being considered for council member. But Wojcik is out of town, and won't be back until after Monday night's Democratic Committee meeting.

The opening for supervisor was created when Dennis H. Gabryszak became an assemblyman Monday. Two board members had said they were interested in serving out the year remaining on the supervisor's term: James J. Jankowiak and Thomas M. Johnson Jr.

Jankowiak is the deputy supervisor, and is taking over the official duties until the Town Board makes its appointment for supervisor.

Johnson said he has had many people supporting him for the top spot.

Max said in December that if the new supervisor is a sitting board member, he wanted the Democratic Committee to recommend a new board member at the same time it chose a supervisor.

The committee recommends candidates to the Town Board, and the all-Democratic board traditionally accepts the recommendation of the committee. Four votes are needed on the board to make the appointments.

Sources have said Richard Zydel, the executive vice chairman of the Democratic Party, had been the top contender for the recommendation for board member. Max said several have submitted letters of interest, including another committee member.

"Her letter came in a tad too late," he said of Wojcik.

Max said candidates must be nominated, receive a second and be present to accept the party endorsement.

"The vote is the vote, and it is going to happen Monday," he said. "We're not waiting for one person."

But Max said any candidate who attends Monday's meeting and wants to make a presentation will be given that opportunity. A candidate who wants the position should make plans to be there, he said. He said Gabryszak won the election Nov. 7, and most Democrats knew the endorsements would likely take place at a regular committee meeting.

Wojcik, who was well liked by many senior citizens when she ran the senior center, is a strong candidate, he acknowledged.

"Of course she'd be a good candidate," he said.

He said he left her a phone message, and plans to meet with her when she returns and assure her she can be part of the spring endorsement process for a four-year term on the board. The seats of three board members, Jankowiak, Johnson and Jeff Swiatek, are up this year.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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