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City of Dunkirk’s planning director resigns

DUNKIRK – Steve Neratko has resigned as director of planning and development for the City of Dunkirk. The announcement was made at a news conference Thursday afternoon in City Hall.

He is leaving to take a job as chief planner for the city of Allentown, Pa.

“I have enjoyed my time with the city and I really look forward to what the city does in the future,” Neratko said.

He will begin his new job next week.

Mayor A.J. Dolce said the announcement was a “bittersweet moment.” Neratko joined Dolce’s team in 2011, shortly after Dolce was elected mayor.

“I guess what I learned here is you cannot make everyone happy all of the time,” said Neratko. He was under fire recently by Councilman-at-Large Willie Rosas, who commented publicly about his absences from City Council meetings.

“I would like to wish Steve and his family good luck,” Rosas said. He said he was not entirely surprised by the announcement but did not know what the mayor’s plans are for filling the position.

Neratko said, “Whoever comes into the position I would correspond with them to help with the transition.”

Dolce credited Neratko with obtaining more than $1 million in recent grant funding and helping to coordinate the refurbishing of the Coburn Block of Central Avenue.

“We need to keep the momentum going,” Dolce said. He has revealed his plans for the development office but he said they are still in the works.

Lacy Lawrence, the city’s deputy director of development, also recently left.

Dolce said he does not have any immediate plans for replacements.

“The main thing is to make sure nothing gets lost in the transition,” he said.