Having recently lost a close race against Fred M. Newlin for town supervisor, retired Town Police Chief Ronald R. Winkley came out on top Tuesday as he was voted into office as a village trustee.
The Village Board voted, 4-0, to replace former Trustee Kenneth J. Kenney, who resigned his post Sept. 4 after 13 years of service. He resigned in a flap over village officials allowing the new Barton Hill Hotel and Spa to hold an open house in late August without an official occupancy permit as called for by law.
Winkley, a Republican, will fill that post until June 30, when Kenney's term expires. "I plan to run for a full term in the village elections next June," he said.
Now teaching criminal justice at Niagara University, Winkley said he asked for the trustee appointment because "I've always enjoyed working with the board and working for the people of Lewiston as police chief for the last 26 years. I just couldn't think of a better way to continue to serve the community than to be on the board. I'm honored to be here . . . I'm very comfortable here."
That's because as police chief, "He's been here for 26 years [until he retired June 30] sitting at every [trustee] meeting we've been at," Trustee Terry C. Collesano said, noting he was instrumental in hiring Winkley as the village's top cop all those years ago.
Trustee William E. Geiben said Winkley brings "common sense, sincerity and commitment to the board. What else can we ask for?"
"While there were a number of excellent residents interested" in filling Kenney's old post, Mayor Richard F. Soluri said he favored Winkley "because of his knowledge of the community, the whole community . . . and nobody cares more about the community than the former chief."
After the meeting, Soluri announced the board will meet again for a work session at 6 p.m. Monday in the Red Brick School. He said the board's next business meeting and last session of 2007 will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 17.