Council Member at Large Rosemarie LoTempio has been ousted as head of the Democratic Zone Chairmen's Association and replaced by Albert DeBenedetti.
Mrs. LoTempio, a longtime ally of Mayor Griffin, lost the office by a vote of 15 to 9 at a reorganization meeting of Democratic zone leaders in Buffalo. Philip Twitty, another zone leader, received two votes.
DeBenedetti is an assistant deputy election commissioner for Erie County and chairman of the 21st zone in the Riverside-Black Rock area. He formerly served as appointments secretary in the administration of County Executive Gorski.
DeBenedetti said the ongoing feud between Griffin Democrats and the Democratic Party organization led by Gorski and County Chairman Vincent J. Sorrentino played a role in his election.
Another factor was the failure of Mrs. LoTempio to call regular meetings of the association, which met only once last year, according to DeBenedetti.
Sorrentino said that he did not take sides in the contest for the chairmanship of the association.
Under party rules, the chairman sits on the party's county executive committee, which endorses candidates for public office.
Mrs. LoTempio will continue to serve on the executive committee, according to Sorrentino, who said he plans to name her as an at-large or committee representative.
While Mrs. LoTempio has retained her friendship with Griffin, she also has developed what she describes as "a good relationship" with Sorrentino and the party organization.
Mrs. LoTempio, who is expected to seek re-election to the Common Council next year, said she will announce her plans sometime after Jan. 1.