LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – The City of Lockport Mayor is stepping down, effective at the end of the day on Friday.
Michael Tucker tells News 4 he is resigning. He says he is in the back end of his third current term and is exploring opportunities in the private sector.
“There does seem to be a lot of opportunity for me out there,” he said. “I got a couple of things that look really good. Could be something potentially good for me and my family.”
He told News 4 he probably doesn’t have as much passion for the job as he once did, and now is as good a time as any to step down.
“I’m not going to let the opportunity pass by,” Tucker said. “There comes a time for everybody when it’s time to move on. I think this is my time.”
Tucker says his resignation has nothing to do with an investigation into alleged misuse of a credit card by a city employee.
He acknowledged, “I know the timing is bad for that, but it is what it is. People are going to say what they’re going to say. But this credit card thing is really much to do about nothing.”
According to the Buffalo News, Melissa Junke used one of the city’s two credit cards, one of which is held by Tucker and the other by City Treasurer Michael White. Junke, the Youth and Recreation Director, spent a little more than $9,000 on an $85-per-ticket golf tournament.
The event was co-sponsored by Junke’s brother, Brian Junke, and was meant to raise money for youth programs, but no proceeds from the event were ever given to the treasury.
“It’s a $9,000 bill. It’s not something to resign over. One’s got nothing to do with the other,” Tucker said.
Tucker, who has been the city’s mayor for 10 years, says Common Council President Anne McCaffrey, whom he appointed, will take over in the interim.
In a statement, McCaffrey said, “Like all Lockport residents, I was surprised by Mayor Tucker’s decision to resign today. Mayor Tucker has the distinction of being Lockport’s longest serving mayor and has accomplished some significant things during his tenure. On behalf of the City of Lockport, I thank him for his dedicated service and wish him and his family the very best as he moves on to new endeavors. Clearly, Lockport is faced with some tremendous challenges right now. I am fully prepared to step into the Mayor’s office immediately and begin working to address these issues. I will have more to say on that next week when I am formally sworn in as Mayor.”
Tucker said, “I’ve enjoyed my stay here. I’ve enjoyed being the mayor of the City of Lockport. I’m very honored to have been the mayor for three terms.”
The city has hired Hamburg attorney Brian Doyle to investigate the credit card issue. His findings are expected in three or four weeks.
Tucker has also resigned his position with the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, effective immediately.