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Schroeder announces plan to resign seat in Assembly

Mark J.F. Schroeder said Monday he will resign his seat in the Assembly by Aug. 30 to pave the way for a special election Nov. 8.

Schroeder is assured of becoming the next Buffalo comptroller since he has no primary or general election opposition. The Democrat said the timing of his decision to step down from the Assembly will satisfy state legal requirements to allow Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to call for the special contest on the regularly scheduled Election Day.

"My No. 1 concern is I don't want my seat to be unrepresented for nearly five months," he said, pointing to an anticipated new election calendar that could result in a primary election much earlier than the traditional September date.

"I believe the governor will not call a stand-alone special election and wait until the next primary," he said, adding that he is concerned the 145th District would remain unrepresented during budget and reapportionment debates.

Schroeder's plan also opens the possibility that the Common Council would appoint him to the vacant comptroller's post since he is assured of election anyway. Schroeder said he would be open to such a move, noting any decision would be up to the Council.

Council President David A. Franczyk, meanwhile, said he would consider the possibility of a Schroeder appointment but would make no commitment.

"It's not a question of the Comptroller's Office being in a meltdown or in crisis; it's in pretty good hands right now," he said, referring to the temporary supervision of acting Comptroller Darby R. Fishkin.

Still, Franczyk noted the presence of several Council members attending Schroeder's candidacy announcement and calculated he has the necessary support to be named comptroller.

"I would say he is in pretty good shape," he said.

The nominations for Schroeder's successor will be filled by party leaders in the heavily Democratic district. In the case of the last Assembly vacancy, created by the June resignation of Democrat Sam Hoyt, members of the Erie County Democratic Party's Executive Committee selected Sean M. Ryan, while the Republican and Conservative parties named Sean P. Kipp.

South Council Member Michael P. Kearns has expressed interest In the Schroeder seat, while Lackawanna Mayor Norman L. Polanski Jr. has also been mentioned. The Buffalo News reported Sunday that Christopher J. Fahey, an aide to Rep. Brian Higgins, has also emerged as a strong contender for the seat.

All are Democrats, while no Republican candidate has yet expressed interest.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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