NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Four people are running for the Cheektowaga Town Board seat vacated earlier this year by Charlie Markel – including Markel.
The former councilman, who was midway through his second term, left office in April after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge related to unemployment insurance fraud.
Under the state’s Public Officers Law, once an elected official enters a guilty plea, the office is considered vacant because it involves a violation of the oath of office.
Markel was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge and repaid $7,136 in benefits he received after the closure of the family-owned convenience store, where he worked but while still being paid $20,680 a year as a councilman.
He said his thoughts about running again became action after an outpouring of public support.
“Probably close to 2,000 people asked me to run,” Markel said. “Let the voters decide.”
He will face Christine L. Adamczyk and Steven A. Specyal. in a three-way Democratic primary in September.
Adamczyk, a member of the Cheektowaga Central School Board, received the endorsement of the town’s Democratic Committee last month.
She also faces a primary challenge for the Independence line from Roger R. McGill Jr., a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for Town Board last year.
This year’s race is only to fill the vacancy. A full, four-year term would be on the ballot in 2015.
Markel said he has braced his wife and daughter for a nasty campaign, although he intends to remain positive. “I said, ‘Can you guys take it?’ ”
A town prosecutor who wrote a letter to the editor praising Markel’s public service and criticizing the “overzealous” pursuit by the District Attorney’s Office was stripped of her prosecutorial authority by District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III and had to resign.
“It feels horrible,” Markel said. “I don’t want to see anybody lose a job over me.” Markel said he’s been working in construction and taking an online course in real estate.
Supporters obtained the required 500 signatures for his candidacy petitions well in advance of last month’s filing deadline, Markel said.