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City of Lockport hires finance director for top salary of $95,000

LOCKPORT – Scott Schrader, a veteran of 20 years in local government finance and management, was hired Wednesday as director of finance for the City of Lockport.

The Common Council made it clear that Schrader is not related to Alderman Patrick W. Schrader. If he were, the hiring would have violated the city’s code of ethics.

Scott Schrader will be paid $95,000 a year, believed to be the highest base salary ever paid to a Lockport official. The position was budgeted at $75,000.

“Based on his experience, he requested a higher amount,” Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said. The budgetary impact will be mitigated because Schrader will get only nine months’ salary this year. “Next year, he’ll be able to do the budget for the city and we won’t have the additional expense of a budget consultant,” she said.

That eventually will eliminate the contract with the Lumsden & McCormick, which has prepared the budget for the last two years.

McCaffrey said the budget duties may be shared this fall by Schrader and Lumsden, an arrangement that is not expected to continue in 2016.

The length and other terms of Schrader’s contract have not been agreed upon, the mayor said.

Schrader is a Western New York native who worked from 2010 to the end of 2014 as assistant chief administrative officer for Burlington, Vt.

His other jobs were in eastern New York . He was deputy county administrator and legislature clerk in Jefferson County from 1995 to 1999; county administrator and budget officer in Montgomery County from 1999 to 2003; and held the same titles in Cortland County from 2003 to 2010.

He will start work in Lockport on March 30 and will be required to live in the city, McCaffrey said.

Meanwhile, the Council is working on what to do about City Treasurer Michael E. White, an elected official whose term is up this year. Schrader is being assigned many of the duties historically handled by the treasurer.

Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick said a committee including aldermen, Scott Schrader and Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano will make a recommendation on the future of the treasurer’s job by May 1.

Ottaviano said abolishing the post or reducing its duties can be done only by referendum, and to get the office off this November’s ballot, the referendum would have to be held well in advance of the election. However, Ottaviano said that if the Council wants to cut the treasurer’s pay, this can be done by a Council resolution in July, according to the City Charter.

The city’s financial crisis was blamed in part on the Council appropriating surplus funds for 2013 that White incorrectly said the city had. In fact, the city was already in the red by more than $1 million at the end of 2012, but the records didn’t show it.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com