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Lackawanna mayor hires administrative aides from Amherst, Orchard Park

Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski went beyond city limits in his appointments for development director and city comptroller.

Drew Shapiro of Amherst was named director of development, filling the vacancy created when Szymanski fired Fred K. Heinle earlier this month. Shapiro's appointment was effective Thursday.

Carolyn Nicometo of Orchard Park, a certified public accountant, assumed the post of city comptroller on Monday. That opening was created after former comptroller Peggy Bigaj-Sobol resigned. Bigaj-Sobol is now account clerk typist in the comptroller's office, a position she held previously.

The appointments of two non-residents were made possible by a waiver of the residency rule required of city administrators. At Monday's City Council meeting, lawmakers voted unanimously to approve the waiver.

Heinle, who resides in Buffalo, was appointed in March 2014 and also required the residency waiver.

"The City Charter requires administrators to reside in Lackawanna," Jeff DePasquale, city clerk. "If you can find someone who meets the qualifications, then great. If not you seek permission to look elsewhere."

Shapiro is no stranger to Lackawanna's City Hall. He also served under two previous mayors - Kathleen M. Staniszewski and John Kuryak - as empire development zone director.

"He knows the city," said Szymanski. "He knows the streets, and the areas that are development ready."

Shapiro, who has a degree in urban planning, will earn $55,000.

Nicometo will earn $75,000.





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