Cheektowaga has a new deputy supervisor, but the old one -- the town's first-ever woman lawmaker -- isn't walking quietly into the sunset.
Council Member Patricia A. Jaworowicz, relieved by town Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak after six years as his deputy, Tuesday issued a parting statement critical of what she said are the closed doors, non-accountability and politics of town government.
She also said her working relationship with Gabryszak had been "non-existent" for years.
"My basic philosophy and management goals for running town government are not shared to any great extent by the current supervisor," Jaworowicz said.
"In light of this circumstance, and in the aftermath of a very close, contentious election process, I can understand his desire to transfer the title to someone who thinks as he does. Frankly, I admit I am relieved to be replaced," she said.
Gabryszak won a second term in the November election, but captured only 52 percent of the vote against fellow Democrat William P. Rogowski, a Town Board member who ran as a Republican.
Jaworowicz said she backed Rogow-ski, though not overtly.
Gabryszak last week tapped Council Member James J. Jankowiak as the town's new deputy supervisor. Jankowiak, former chairman of the Cheektowaga Democratic Town Committee, is parks commissioner in the outgoing administration of County Executive Dennis Gorski.
Jaworowicz, in the middle of her fifth consecutive four-year term, is the first woman ever elected to the Town Board. Gabryszak appointed her as his deputy in January 1994, also making her the first woman ever to hold that post in the town. She works as a legislative assistant in the County Legislature.
In her parting statement, Jaworowicz wrote:
"As we begin the year 2000, let me say that I believe government needs to be more inclusive, not exclusive; we desperately need open government, not closed doors and lock-downs on information flow.
"I believe the public wants fewer excuses and more accountability and, finally, we could all benefit from less politics and more interest in the common good."
Unlike some other towns, Cheektowaga doesn't pay the deputy supervisor. The job generally involves filling in for the supervisor when he or she is has other work to do, or is ill or out of town.
The job "has become more or less of a perfunctory title," Jaworowicz said. "Many people still assume that the title also implies that a close working camaraderie exists between the town supervisor and the deputy. For the most part during my tenure, that aspect of such a relationship was nonexistent."
Gabryszak said there was no connection between Jaworowicz's support of his opponent in the last election and his decision to replace her.
"She did a good job. I appreciate the time and effort she put in," Gabryszak said Tuesday.
"This is all part of our reorganization. Jimmy (Jankowiak) has demonstrated an ability to tackle a number of issues, including the tough ones, and get them resolved," Gabryszak said.
"I wanted someone with flexibility, who I could work closely with, who wouldn't just automatically agree with me but give me different views and perspectives on things. Jimmy also brings a good sense of government and a financial background to the job, having been with the county for a number of years," Gabryszak said.
Jankowiak, a board member since December 1996, was elected to his first full four-year term in November.