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2016 controversy over Lockport assessor job resurfaces in County Legislature race

Niagara County Legislature candidate Anita Mullane has accused her opponent, Legislature Chairman W. Keith McNall, of telling "an out-and-out lie" in a campaign flyer mailed to Lockport voters.

The unattributed flyer said Mullane tried to get her sister, Lena Villella, appointed city assessor when Mullane was on the Lockport Common Council in 2016.

“Leave my family out of it, Keith,” Mullane said. “And whatever you want to say about me, at least say you’re sorry to my sister and other women like her who’ve made it on their own.”

If Mullane wants an apology, "She's not going to get it from me, because I didn't send it," McNall said.

In January 2016, the Council canceled a deal to share Niagara Falls' assessor and recreated an assessor position. Mullane abstained from that vote, but other Council members wanted Villella to get the job.

Then-Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey vetoed the change, but the Council overrode the veto, with Mullane voting to override.

Villella, a longtime city employee, had twice served as acting assessor. Instead, McCaffrey hired Tracy Farrell, who still has the job.

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