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Lockport mayor looks forward to first Council meeting after 'shaky' transition

When Lockport Mayor Michelle M. Roman presides at her first Common Council meeting Monday, one of her first actions will be to appoint Mark Devine, 3rd Ward alderman, as Council president.

Devine, one of six Republicans who make up the current Common Council, is the only alderman who supported Roman during the special mayoral election. Roman, 47, is the first Democrat to be elected mayor since 2003.

Devine described Roman’s transition into the city’s top post as “shaky.”

Her initial requests for information on city personnel, salary structures and union contracts were not filled.

"The transition could have been smoother by the current administration, although outgoing Mayor David R. Wohleben did a good job in office,” Devine said. “The transition was shaky at best.”

“I’m still looking for answers on finances,” Roman said Tuesday night after her inauguration and reception. “I asked for cash flow documents. I don’t have them. I never was told what our debt capacity is. These are things I need to know. It’s crazy, but I’m confident we can do this. Hopefully, we can work together for our city.”

Roman, who campaigned for more transparency in government, will start her term by adding town hall meetings to the monthly lineup.

“We have Common Council meetings, but people are restricted on how long they can talk as well as what they can talk about,” she said, adding that she would also like to push back the start of the bimonthly work sessions and council meetings by at least 30 minutes.

Roman, a political rookie, defeated Republican W. Keith McNall for a one-year mayoral term. Former Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey resigned in August to head up Eastern Niagara Hospital. Wohleben was tapped to fill in, but then denied the Republican nomination in the election.

Roman graduated in 1993 with a degree in human services from Niagara County Community College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education in 1997 from SUNY Brockport. Roman has a master’s degree in exceptional education from SUNY Buffalo State.

She currently serves as a response intervention services coordinator in the Holley Central School District. Roman has two sons, ages 28 and 21. She lives with her husband in Lockport.

She plans to be at City Hall daily from 3:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. She will continue her position in the Holley school district from 7:20 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

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