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Kaminski announces third run for top highway post in Amherst

A former crew chief for the Town of Amherst announced her candidacy Wednesday for highway superintendent.

Kathy R. Kaminski, who ran unsuccessfully for the job in 2007 and 2011, said she will take a third shot at the office during this year’s elections.

Kaminski, a registered Conservative, will seek endorsement from the Amherst Democratic Committee.

A news conference was held Wednesday morning at Milos Restaurant on Main Street in Williamsville.

Kaminski, 63, left her job with the town in 2012 and received $175,000 to settle a lawsuit she filed against the town and her former boss, Highway Superintendent Robert N. Anderson. Kaminski alleged she was subject to retaliation after first running against Anderson in 2007. She narrowly lost that election, then lost by a wider margin when she challenged Anderson a second time in 2011.

“In running for this position, I intend to break the glass ceiling for women in Amhest politics,” Kaminski said. “This year, 2015, I will run for and intend to be elected as the first woman to hold the office of highway superintendent.”

Kaminski isn’t the first to declare interest in the position.

Last month, James H. Cappello, owner of Cappello Landscaping, sent a letter to Amherst Democrats announcing that he plans to run for town highway superintendent and also will seek the committee’s endorsement.

Meanwhile, there has been speculation in recent weeks that Council Member Mark A. Manna, who is in his last year on Amherst Town Board, could be a candidate for the job, as well.

When The Buffalo News asked him about the speculation, Manna said: “I am discussing my options with my family and close friends. Believe it or not, it’s still early in the political season.”

Anderson retired in September, setting up a wide-open battle for the elected position. His four-year term was to expire this year. Deputy Superintendent Joseph A. Speth, who has been heading the Highway Department in the interim, indicated that he, too, is still weighing his options on whether to run.

The highway superintendent oversees a variety of critical duties for a town of 122,000 people, including snowplowing, paving, drainage, lighting, parks, refuse and recycling.

The job pays nearly $97,000 a year, which includes a base pay of $73,920; a $2,500 stipend for handling signs, signals and drainage; $7,500 to run the parks; and a $13,073 stipend for being in charge of refuse control.