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Junke hearing held over for two months

LOCKPORT – The attorney for former City of Lockport Youth and Recreation Director Melissa I. Junke rested her case Tuesday in a state Division of Human Rights hearing over the 2014 elimination of her job.

Attorney Lindy Korn said the hearing officer, Administrative Law Judge Martin Erazo Jr., scheduled the hearing to resume Sept. 19. Korn said Erazo can recommend a payment of damages to Junke if he rules she was wrongfully terminated, and also can fine the city, but hearing officers generally can’t order the rehiring of an employee.

Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey testified for about two hours Tuesday, to begin the city’s case that Junke was removed for budgetary reasons, not because of her threat to sue the city over alleged sexual harassment by McCaffrey’s predecessor, Michael W. Tucker.

Monday, Junke testified that in June 2013, Tucker sent her text messages urging her to send him a nude photo of herself. She also asserted that she had helped Tucker conceal an affair he allegedly was having with another female city worker.

McCaffrey said Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano and accountant John P. Schiavone of Lumsden & McCormick, who helped prepare the city’s 2014 budget, are scheduled to follow her to the witness stand in September.

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