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North Tonawanda Council plans to name first female city attorney

NORTH TONAWANDA – The North Tonawanda Common Council Tuesday agreed to appoint Assistant City Attorney Katherine “Katie” D. Alexander as its new city attorney.

Alexander, a lifelong resident of North Tonawanda and graduate of North Tonawanda High School, will become the first woman to serve in that role. Her appointment will be made official by the Council at its regular meeting next week. She will be sworn in to the elected position at the end of December, replacing longtime City Attorney Shawn P. Nickerson who will leave the post on Dec. 30.

Nickerson submitted his resignation last week after he was appointed to a six-year term as acting City Court judge by Mayor Arthur G. Pappas.

Nickerson, 49, has served as city attorney since 2005, elected to the post three times. His current four-year term ends in 2016. Before that, he sefved as deputy city attorney beginning in 2000.

Alexander, 29, has served as assistant city attorney for the past two years and also interned for three years in the city attorney’s office before she went to law school. She is a graduate of St. Lawrence Union College in Canton, and graduated from Albany Law School.

“I grew up in N.T. and it means a lot for me to work for the city and to give back to the community that raised me,” she told the Council. “It will be an honor. And it will be a great transition. We have a lot of things going on right now as we go on to the new year.” Nickerson told the Council he was in favor of Alexander as his successor and praised her work in recent contract negotiations.

“She’s done a great job for the city,” Nickerson said. “It will be a smooth transition.”Both City Clerk-Treasurer Daniel Quinn and Pappas also supported her appointment.

Nickerson said Alexander will have to run in November to continue in the position.

Nickerson also pointed out he had made history when he appointed Alexander as the city’s first woman assistant city attorney.

Also during Tuesday’s work session, the Council:

• Learned the city had sold seven properties at its in-rem foreclosure auction, making $100,000 after taxes were covered. One bid for a property on First Street was deemed too low to accept and will be rejected.

• Met with Canal Concerts promoter Kathy Paradowski, who said she plans to bring North Tonawanda’s Rockin’ on the River to Gratwick Riverside Park for a fifth year. The concerts will be held on four consecutive Fridays: June 24, and July 1, 8 and 15.

She told the council that Gratwick is beautiful venue and the event draws thousands to the city for each show.