Party unity was the theme Monday night as Cheektowaga Deputy Supervisor James J. Jankowiak won the unanimous support of the town Democratic Party to serve as supervisor for the next year.
Board Member Thomas M. Johnson Jr. bowed out of competition for the recommendation for supervisor at this time, saying family circumstances prohibited him from seeking the recommendation. More than 200 committee members attended the meeting at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 4569 Broadway, Depew.
Richard A. Zydel was unopposed for the party's recommendation to fill the board seat being vacated by Jankowiak, after James Sala and Michael Leader took themselves out of contention.
Since the all-Democratic Town Board has a history of following the party's recommendation, Jankowiak and Zydel will be appointed to their posts by the board at its regular meeting next Tuesday. The opening occurred when Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak resigned to become an assemblyman.
"I promise you I will work to bring this Town Board together, to bring this party together," Jankowiak said.
Much of the unity shown was attributed to a four-hour meeting Sunday night in the Anchor Bar with Frank Max, chairman of the Cheektowaga Democratic Party, and all the members of the Town Board. Several board members were closely aligned with former Chairman Ken Meyers, whom Max defeated for the chairmanship of the party. Max said board members agreed to move more quickly to resolve issues, such as solar lights and security.
"There aren't going to be any more secret meetings with part of the board, it's over. I let them know it's over," Max said. "We all had to bite our tongues when we were criticized. All the venom that built up is now gone."
Jankowiak, who had opposed Max for chairman, called the meeting productive.
"We laid the egos on the line and we worked with one another. We said it's time we put the egos behind us and think about the residents of the Town of Cheektowaga, and everybody agreed to it," he said.
He said board members agreed they would communicate better with one another. To help do that, starting at tonight's work session, there will be time at the beginning of each work session for comments from board members on town business.
Also in keeping with party togetherness, no one raised the possibility of another candidate for Town Board, Patricia Wojcik, who wrote a letter last week saying she wanted to be considered. The former head of senior services was out of town on a trip and did not attend the meeting, but Max said he would talk to her when she returned.
"I like Pat," he said, adding that he was hopeful something would open up for her.
Max said a number of candidates will be considered for the endorsement in April for full four-year terms.
Jankowiak was nominated by fellow board member Alice Magierski and seconded by Ken Carlucci, party sergeant at arms. Zydel was nominated by former Chairman James Burst and seconded by Sigmund "Ziggy" Kucewicz, who ran unsuccessfully for the Town Board with Zydel in 2001.