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Calls intensify for Cheektowaga councilman to resign after arrest

The calls for Cheektowaga Councilman James P. Rogowski to step away from his town duties after he was charged with a felony are beginning to pile up.

Cheektowaga Councilman Brian Nowak on Wednesday called for the resignation of his fellow Democrat, one day after Town GOP Committee chairman Don Friedrich also called for Rogowski to resign.

Later Wednesday, Cheektowaga Democratic Party Chairman Matt Janiszewski said Rogowski should not serve while his case is pending.

Rogowski, a four-term trustee, was arrested by West Seneca police on a felony contempt charge for allegedly violating an order of protection obtained by his wife. Rogowski, 45, was also charged with menacing in connection with the Feb. 23 incident.

"I recognize the fact that these are only allegations and Mr. Rogowski will have his day in court, but until that time he should suspend all official town business," said Janiszewski, party chairman, late Wednesday afternoon.

Members of the Cheektowaga Democratic Committee met Tuesday night at party offices on Union Road and discussed the matter, Janiszewski confirmed.

Earlier Wednesday, Nowak, a newly elected councilman, called for Rogowski to resign.

“Councilmember Rogowski’s credible, yet alleged, violation of an order of protection is more than a family matter – it’s a very serious matter that involves the courts and criminal charges," said Nowak in a statement released by the town.

“With faith in elected officials near an all-time low, the Town of Cheektowaga does not need this continuing distraction. Due process and the right for one to have his day in court is a crucial part of our system, and no one should be denied that. However, the councilmember swore to uphold the laws of the State of New York, and in this particular case, there was a blatant and egregious violation of those laws."

The Lockport Board of Education voted Feb. 28 to place Rogowski on leave from his job as a high school technology teacher.

Lisa M. Schrader, assistant superintendent for personnel, said Rogowski will continue to be paid during his leave, which began Thursday.

Rogowski's salary in 2017 was $87,946, according to the website

This is not the first time a sitting Town Board member was charged in connection with a domestic-related incident. In 2013, Town of Tonawanda Councilman Daniel J. Crangle pleaded guilty to a harassment violation in a domestic incident involving his then-estranged wife. Crangle was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge.

Crangle, who did not step down, won re-election in 2015.

When contacted recently by phone, Crangle offered a brief response when asked to comment on Rogowski's situation.

"His situation is different, and it is his personal business," Crangle said. "It was a personal matter for me as well."

Crangle declined to comment further.

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