City Administrator Daniel S. Bristol has resigned from a top post at City Hall to pursue consultant work in the private sector.
Announcement of his departure, effective Feb. 2, came through a one-page press release from Mayor Vince Anello's office handed out by a city clerk to media and City Council members after Monday's meeting.
"This is a bittersweet moment," Bristol said in the statement. "I'll miss the day-to-day of working with so many dedicated city employees but I'm looking forward to pursuing a career in the private sector."
Bristol was the chief of staff in the office of administration in the White House when he moved back to his hometown in 2003 so he could be city administrator. He also had a career in the United States Air Force.
He was hired in November by the Town of Niagara as a $60-an-hour consultant on as "as-needed" basis to advise its Redevelopment Authority on possible reuses for the 22-acre former Air Reserve Center on Porter Road. Anello and the city's Law Department deemed the job not to be a conflict of interest.
In 2004, the Council rejected a request to give Bristol a 37.7 percent pay raise, and he was paid a base salary of around $57,278 during his three-year tenure with the city.
His resignation had been rumored for the past month, according to all City Council members. However, when Anello was asked several weeks ago about it he adamantly denied Bristol had any intention of leaving.
"A couple weeks ago there was no discussion about him leaving," Anello said Monday. "My view is that he's done a great job for the city, and we're definitely going to miss him. He certainly has a lot of potential."
City lawmakers, however, were not disappointed when they read the press release on Monday night.
"I'm glad," said Councilman Sam Fruscione. "I've been in office for a year and never had a meeting with the guy. He never talked to me about one issue."
Councilman Charles Walker said he usually talks to the mayor when he has a question.
Councilman Chris A. Robins, who Bristol has said is the only Council member who has met with him over the past year, said he would have liked to hear the news from the administrator.
Bristol did not attend Monday's meeting and has attended very few City Council meetings in at least seven months.
"I think it's great because I think he's been a hindrance to the city more than a help," said Councilman Lewis Rotella.
Rotella said Bristol was behind some controversial deals the city has signed, citing an agreement the city administration made with developer Frank Parlato Jr. last summer allowing him to operate a tourist hub downtown without the proper Planning Board or permit approvals.
All City Council members last fall accused Bristol of breaking the city's residency rule for its employees. They said they received many complaints that he was living in a house he owned on Lake Ontario.
Bristol lists his home address as an apartment on Rainbow Boulevard in the Falls in state Department of Motor Vehicles and voter registration records. He told The Buffalo News he lives in Niagara Falls and has a summer home in Wilson.