Mayor Lawrence V. Soos on Wednesday night announced he will appoint Samuel F. Iraci Jr. as assistant to the mayor.
"He'll be phenomenal," said Soos, who asked the Common Council during a workshop meeting for permission to negotiate a contract with Iraci. "Look at what he's done in the past. I can use him when I need him and save the city money."
Iraci, 56, who served as deputy mayor of Buffalo under then-Mayor James D. Griffin from 1986 to 1992, would earn up to $40,000 a year in the part-time post, similar to that of a city manager. Iraci would focus primarily on economic development, city finances and labor relations.
Iraci last served as city manager of Elmira, from 1994 until retiring in December 2005.
He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Niagara University in 1972 and a master's degree in public administration from Canisius College in 1991.
"When I [arrived in Elmira] the tax rate was $6.11 per $1,000, and the budget I proposed for 2006, 12 years later, the tax rate was $15.88," Iraci said. "I think the Council ultimately adopted a smaller rate than what was proposed."
Iraci was a finalist for the $85,000-a-year Niagara County manager position in 2002.
Iraci moved to Buffalo from Elmira and says that because of restrictions in the state retirement system, he does not plan to move to North Tonawanda. Soos, meanwhile, wants the Council to waive the city's residency requirement for the post.
Council President Brett M. Sommer thinks that the post should be full time.
"My only hang-up is that the contract is not full time," Sommer said. "A full-time city manager has the potential to save the city more money in managing the city more effectively than a part-time guy is going to be able to do."
In other matters:
*Sommer announced he is negotiating with LCTV about plans to televise Council meetings. He said the city could pay for the service through its cable franchise fund, which has $300,000.
*The Council plans to hold a workshop meeting at 5 p.m. next Wednesday in City Hall. Council members plan to meet with Iraci and also discuss the formation of the Charter Revision Committee.