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Only two races are contested for Council

A former mayor will battle a current city lawmaker in the race for Lackawanna Council president Tuesday, while the Democratic incumbent for the 4th Ward Council seat goes up against a young Republican and another candidate running on the Conservative Party line.

Former Mayor John J. Kuryak is running for Council president on the Republican and Conservative lines against current 3rd Ward Councilman Charles Jaworski, whose name will appear on the Democratic, Independence and Working Families parties lines on Tuesday's ballot.

In the 4th Ward race, Democratic incumbent Joseph J. Schiavi is seeking a second term against Republican Paul V. Gorczyca, a 23-year-old Canisius College graduate who is making his first foray into local politics, and Conservative Party candidate, Keith E. Lewis, another political newcomer. Schiavi's name will also appear on Independence and Working Families parties lines.

There are only two contested races in Lackawanna. Democratic Mayor Norman L. Polanski is running unopposed for a second four-year term.

In the battle for Council president, Kuryak and Jaworski are seeking to replace outgoing Council President Ronald Spadone, a Democrat, who decided not to seek re-election.

Kuryak, 37, served one term as mayor before being unseated by Polanski in 2003. A former part-time senior engineering aide with the city, Kuryak took a full-time engineering job with the Erie County Water Authority in the summer of 2003.

"There are some big issues -- the settlement of the Bethlehem Steel tax assessment case and the windmill project -- that still have to be addressed, and I don't think they've been addressed in the best interest of the taxpayers in the last four years," Kuryak said.

Jaworski, in his sixth year on the Council, is a retired Ford Motor Co. worker who said he intends to devote full-time hours to the part-time Council president's job.

"My aim is to keep taxes low and make sure public services are up to snuff," he said.

Jaworski, 57, said he looks forward to joining the city's negotiations with Clipper Windpower on the next phase of the Steel Winds turbine energy project.

He defended Polanski's negotiation last year of a pact with the company that will bring the city $100,000 a year for the first 13 windmill turbines installed under Phase I of the project. "At that time, that was the best price any windmill company had paid any municipality," Jaworski said.

Incumbent 4th Ward Councilman Schiavi was first appointed in 2003 to succeed Spadone for the seat Schiavi now holds. Schiavi, 63, is a motor vehicle operator for the Lackawanna School District and is seeking a second full term on the Council. He did not return phone calls.

His Republican challenger, Gorczyca, last year earned a bachelor's degree in political science and urban studies from Canisius. His main interersts are promoting housing and economic development and improving the quality of life in the city.

Lewis, 39, lost to Schiavi in the Democratic primary, but is running on the Conservative party line. The director of physical education for the Cleveland Hill School District in Cheektowaga said he supports more cooperation between the Lackawanna School District and the city, particularly regarding recreation. Lewis said he brings management, personnel and budgetary experience.

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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