Kelly Vacco of Boston, a lawyer and the wife of a successful Erie County Republican, was named to the Erie County Water Authority on Thursday by the County Legislature.
Lawmakers had sent out a request for applicants, and other county residents were interviewed, but it was just a formality. Under a long-standing arrangement, the chairmen of the county's two major political parties take turns selecting water authority commissioners, and Republican Chairman James Domagalski had put forth Vacco's name.
She was backed by 14 of the 15 lawmakers. Only Legislator Kathy Konst, a Lancaster Democrat often critical of Water Authority patronage, refused to back her.
Vacco, former counsel to the Town of Boston, the state Department of Health and Ciminelli Construction Cos., is the wife of Dennis Vacco, a lobbyist and former state attorney general now on County Executive-elect Chris Collins' transition team.
She fills the vacancy created when Republican Robert Lichtenthal resigned to take a high-ranking staff position with the Water Authority. The authority serves some 550,000 people in Buffalo's suburbs. The post of commissioner pays $22,500 a year. The other commissioners are Democrats Frank Swiatek and Fran Warthling.