Regina C. Rosati, a prominent Lockport Republican, was appointed Niagara County Youth Bureau director Tuesday by a 12-6 vote of the Niagara County Legislature.
The choice of Rosati, originally made by the majority Republican caucus in December, was not brought to the floor for two months because of concern over the circumstances of her departure in June as director of the Liberty Partnership program operated by Niagara County Community College.
Legislator Renae Kimble, D-Niagara Falls, asked before the vote if there was any litigation involving Rosati. County Attorney Claude A. Joerg answered, "Not that we're aware of."
Rosati, who is white, said a former subordinate of hers, Theresa Holland, an African-American, had a verbal run-in with her that resulted in Holland's filing a complaint against Rosati with the state Division of Human Rights.
"It was dropped within three weeks. It was unsubstantiated," Rosati said. "People get their noses bent out of shape."
Rosati said she left the college because the state funding for her position expired, not because of the Holland matter.
Kimble claimed that she had heard Rosati sued NCCC over the matter, but Assistant County Attorney J. Michael Fitzgerald, who handles college matters, said that wasn't so.
Holland, reached at home, declined to talk about the case.
Kimble said, "I received a call from Theresa very concerned that (Rosati) would be hired by the county. When you have problems dealing with racial discrimination, they need to be fully investigated."
Rosati ran unsuccessfully in 1999 against Legislator John W. Cole III, D-Lockport, who was the only Democrat to vote for her appointment. Another Lockport Democrat, Bradley E. Erck, was absent.
The Legislature also had a battle over Rosati's salary, which was budgeted at $41,487. Legislator Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, said the last person to hold the Youth Bureau job, Paul G. Colangelo, earned $36,503.
Minority Leader Robert L. Seger, D-North Tonawanda, moved to pay Rosati the 1999 budget figure minus 10 percent. Legislator Gerald E. Meal, R-Royalton, proposed to pay her the same as Colangelo, and Seger then dropped his motion "in the spirit of cooperation." The $36,503 salary then passed unanimously.
"I'm worth $41,000," Rosati said. "I'm a bargain at $36,000." Rosati, 52, has two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree.
Meanwhile, in a party-line vote, the Legislature defeated a resolution to ask Legislator James W. Ward, R-Newfane, to resign because of the criminal charges against him stemming from the Board of Elections salary scandal.
Ward abstained and the other 10 Republicans voted against the resolution; all seven Democrats voted for it. There was no debate, and Ward declined to comment afterward.
The Legislature has no power to force Ward out. He faces a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct for allegedly covering up that a 10 percent pay cut for the election commissioners in 1999 never took effect.