The top federal attorney in Western New York said Wednesday he has resigned to return to private law practice, but not to take a county job as previously expected.
U.S. Attorney Patrick H. NeMoyer's resignation, to take effect Friday, was expected, because of his nomination Saturday for a state judicial post.
But in something of a surprise, NeMoyer said he will join the Orchard Park law firm of Berkowitz & Pace.
County Executive Gorski previously proposed creating a three-month job for NeMoyer as a temporary counsel on regionalization, analyzing competing governmental consolidation programs and outlining an action plan before Jan. 1.
"I would have been thrilled to do that," NeMoyer said.
NeMoyer said Wednesday the idea has been dropped and he instead will return to private practice, as originally planned.
NeMoyer, who encountered some strong criticism of the interim county job prospect, apparently did not have the County Legislature votes to make the move, sources said.
The U.S. attorney has received the Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Liberal nominations for State Supreme Court justice and will be on the Nov. 4 ballot on all four lines. If elected, he would take office Jan. 1.
As recently as Sept. 18, NeMoyer sought legislative backing for his job in the Gorski administration. A vote on the county job for NeMoyer had been expected today. Public opposition to the job apparently led to the change. NeMoyer, 44, had denied suggestions that the consolidation appointment represented cronyism or a misuse of the hot topic of regionalization.
"I don't deny that I am a Democrat or that Dennis (Gorski) is a Democrat," NeMoyer told the legislators. "This isn't a Democrat-Republican issue. Most people in public life are one or the other."
NeMoyer was confirmed Sept. 22, 1993, as U.S. attorney for the 17-county district of Western New York.
A Democrat, NeMoyer, who took over for now-state Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco, had served as Erie County attorney before his appointment.