A familiar face will be returning to the Erie County District Attorney's office in the New Year -- the district attorney himself.
Frank J. Clark III, now in his 10th year as chief prosecutor, has been away from the office for the past six weeks recovering from surgery to remove a noncancerous growth on his lung.
"I'm back on Tuesday," Clark said, then added with a laugh, "as mean and nasty as ever."
Clark, who is 64, said his health is good and there is no reason for concern.
"I'm fine," he said. "I need no aftercare, nothing."
Clark said his doctor had known about a small patch on his lung for the past 15 years, but said there was never a cause for concern.
In the fall he had a chest X-ray, and after his physician saw the patch was growing, decided it needed to be removed.
He was operated on Nov. 27 at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, spent six days in the hospital, and has since been recovering at home. Deputy District Attorney John J. DeFranks ran the office in his absence.
Clark, a former Marine Corps captain in Vietnam, was an assistant district attorney and assistant U.S. attorney before becoming deputy district attorney in 1988. He was elected to replace Kevin M. Dillon in 1996, and has been re-elected twice since then.
"I'm dying to get back to work," he said.