Niagara Falls Reporter
Home | Archive / Search
JAN 20 - JAN 28, 2015

Only in North Tonawanda: Schwandt to Fill Pappas’s Seat, Who Filled Ortt’s Seat

By Sweeney Payne

January 20, 2015

Catherine Schwandt with Robert Ortt.


The Buffalo News and the North Tonawanda Sun, that has stepped up to replace the venerable and beloved Tonawanda News, both announced the appointment of Catherine Schwandt to fill the post of Alderman at Large that the citizens voted to elect (now Mayor) Arthur Pappas to fill.

The Common Council appointed Pappas to fill the post of Mayor, which the citizens had voted to elect Robert Ortt to fill, before he vacated the position to fill the NYS Senate post long held by North Tonawanda native George Maziarz who retired.

Pappas' Alderman at Large position needed someone appointed to take his place.

The others who applied were Mark Lemke, Patrick Deering, and Kevin LoCicero.

Who is Catherine Schwandt? She previously held the role of Alderman at Large and President of the Common Council.

In 2006, she announced she was going to run against Robin Schimminger for the NYS Assembly post he added to his resume in 1976, after having served on the Erie County Legislature.

Schimminger was born in North Tonawanda and has been a longtime resident of Kenmore.

In her announcement of the campaign for Schimminger’s seat, Schwandt said that the issue of people emigrating out of the Tonawandas was close to her heart. She said that people are leaving the area and she wanted them to stay. She said, “People are afraid their children are going to have to leave the area. Everybody knows somebody who needs a job. We have to give people a reason to stay here.” Child safety and cutting state and local taxes were other issues she claimed to feel strongly about.

Schwandt was endorsed by the Niagara County Republican Party for that campaign after County Legislator Peter Smolinski dropped out of the race, having been recruited by County Republican Chairman Henry Wojtaszek.

Schwandt was reported to have said at the time of the announcement, “I hear from a lot of people that New York State is headed in the wrong direction. After ten years on the Council, I think I can help.” She knew it would be an uphill battle because, at that time, Schimminger, somewhat of an institution, had already been one of the longest serving incumbents in local politics. Schimminger had a portion of North Tonawanda added to his district for the first time in 2002, with the rest of his district being in Erie County. He won re-election in 2008 and since.

In 2008, Schwandt was appointed to fill the position of Council President when Brett Sommer vacated the position. He had announced earlier that year that he was leaving local politics altogether. She filled that role until the end of 2012. Schwandt at that time was a 12-year veteran of the Common Council. She had also served as President of the Council from 2001-2005.

Schwandt and her husband have invested in residential real estate they rent out in North Tonawanda. She was also appointed during the Maziarz era to the New York Power Authority. She is currently planning to operate a “tavern & eatery” on Webster Street in a building purchased and renovated by former mayor David Burgio. Hopefully, with her operating a business on the street, she can help clean up some of the problems the current tavern crowd make for the rest of the businesses and occupants of Webster Street.

Schwandt started out as a Democrat and changed her affiliation to Republican before the 2003 election. Bob Clark, who was the previously elected Alderman at Large until his death in 2014, had been a Democrat and changed his affiliation to Republican to get that post. Former Mayor David Burgio had been elected as a Republican and changed to Democrat when the Republicans denied him the endorsement for a second term as Mayor. He and Pappas were running, with Lawrence Soos, against the Republican candidate, Michael Carney. Burgio and Pappas both agreed to put their support behind Soos, who was elected because of their support.

Only in North Tonawanda is it so difficult to figure out who is a Republican, or a Democrat, or something else! But it’s becoming a City with more appointed than elected officials too many times in the last fifteen years!

Keep in mind that, come November, every elected position, except for the City Attorney, will be up for re-election or elimination. City Attorney Nickerson, like all of the other current individuals filling elected (or appointed to fill elected positions) are either Republicans or caucus with the Republicans in order to stay in office.






Now That Medical Marijuana is Legal in New York...
Council Resolution Limiting Public Speech Attacks First Amendment
Somebody’s Got To Do It; We are Charlie Hebdo!
Why We Chose to Publish the Hebdo Cartoons When Nobody Else Will
Dyster Keeps Spending Casino Cash as Casino Revenue Falls
Will Kinky Bills Coach Consider Friendly QB to Fill Top Position?
Touma: City Needs Casino Spending Plan
DiLaura: An Open Letter to John Boehner
City Golfers Tee-off on New "Progressive Tax" at Hyde Park Golf Course
Tragedy in Paris Holds Lesson for Niagara Falls
Dyster’s removal of John Cahill does not compute
Blind Dog in a Meat Market - Another Skrlin Masterpiece of Stunning Art and Political Commentary
Only in North Tonawanda: Schwandt to Fill Pappas’s Seat, Who Filled Ortt’s Seat
Vaping Community Expected to Opposed Erie County Law at Hearing
Letters to the Editor
Ryan Promises to Take Bills to Promised Land
Lorigo, Conservatives Gear Up for 2015 Political Season
Hancock Drone Protester Convicted on 'Unexpected' New Charge
Crime Blotter
Where's Skurka? Presenting Theory on the Shroud of Turin
City Hall Jokes!

Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina