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Former North Tonawanda city attorney seeks new position on the bench

NORTH TONAWANDA – Just one month after stepping into the role of acting City Court judge, former City Attorney Shawn P. Nickerson has announced plans to seek the top spot of City Court chief judge in November.

If elected, Nickerson would replace longtime City Court Chief Judge William R. Lewis, who turned 70 on January, the mandatory age of retirement for municipal judges in New York State. Under state law Lewis is able to finish out term on the bench, serving until the end of the year.

Nickerson got a head start on the bench as he was appointed in November and sworn in on Jan. 1 to the part-time position of acting city court judge, a six-year term serving at the pleasure of the mayor. He replaced Judge Jeffrey Mis.

The chief judge is a full-time, 10-year elected position.

Nickerson, 49, served as city attorney for 10 years, winning his first election in 2005 and re-elected in 2009 and 2013. He also served as assistant city attorney from 2000 to 2005.

“Beyond my experience, I have a strong commitment to my fellow residents of this city as they are my friends and neighbors. I have always strived to be honest, straightforward, open–minded and just with all those I come in contact,” Nickerson said in announcing his candidacy. “I assure you that I will continue to bring each of these qualities to the bench.”

Prior to working in the city attorney’s office, Nickerson worked in the public defender’s office in Buffalo. He has maintained a private law practice for 20 years. In addition to holding a license to practice in New York State, he also is licensed in Florida and Washington, D.C.

He is a 1984 graduate of North Tonawanda High School and a 1988 graduate of St. Bonaventure University. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1992 after graduating from the University of Dayton Law School.

Nickerson is an Eagle Scout and an active volunteer for Boy Scout Troop 184 in North Tonawanda. He also serves on the executive board of the Niagara Frontier Boy Scout Council and was a Polaris District Chairman from 2012 to 2014.

In addition to his work with the Boy Scouts, he is a member of Gratwick Hose Volunteer Fire Company, Knights of Columbus Madonna Council and served as attorney for the Third Warders Social Club for 15 years.

He and his wife, Kellie, have two children, Noel, 16, and Kyle, 13, who both attend North Tonawanda schools. The family are parishioners of Our Lady of Czestochowa Catholic Church.