by Terry Duffy
Changes are a brewing at Lewiston Town Hall and we're not even out of February.
Town of Lewiston Councilman Ernest C. Palmer announced on Feb. 14 that he would be resigning his seat on the Town Board effective Feb. 21.
"I wanted to move into other things," said Palmer in a phone interview.
Palmer, formerly chief of detectives with the Niagara Falls Police Department and a former Youngstown police chief, has served on the Lewiston Town Board since 2007. In his tenure he has been very active in town government, serving as liaison on Lewiston Police and Planning Board issues and keeping a watchdog's eye for town residents on a number of pertinent interests over past years, from River Walk drainage issues to the failed town rec center.
But Palmer, who in past years waged unsuccessful campaigns for Niagara County Sheriff and Town of Lewiston supervisor, said he feels it's time to move on. Palmer said there are new projects he would like to pursue, and looks forward to traveling and spending more time with his wife and family. "I have other interests," he said, noting his involvement as a musician on a local band and also the fact that he's a new grandfather.
"The meetings, the other things, they just kept getting in the way," he said.
Palmer who is also a tax accountant said he wishes to spend more time growing his business. "It is time to give someone else an opportunity to bring fresh ideas and energy to the board."
Palmer expressed his gratitude to the town employees and his colleagues on the Town Board. "It can be a thankless job. But public service is noble, and I salute those who participate in the process. I am also humbled by the support town residents have shown me through the years and I thank them for that."
Commenting further on what helped spur his decision, Palmer added, "From what I see on a national level to locally, it is a very difficult time to be a public official. The scrutiny is very much enhanced."
"There is a different type of politic here. I've seen the change coming. Not sure I like it," he added.
Going forward, Palmer said he wishes new Supervisor Dennis Brochey success. "He is blessed with a professional and dedicated group of council members who are only interested in making Lewiston a better place to live."
Asked to comment on Palmer's decision, Brochey said he and the Town Board members were as surprised as anyone. "I never saw it coming; I've worked well with Ernie."
Brochey said he didn't sense any frustration from Palmer over last November's election loss, but did say he felt the councilman had a lot on his plate. "He's been doing quite a bit on the side" with other things.
But of his work as councilman, "I liked him," Brochey said. "I hate to see him go."
As far as a replacement, Brochey said he anticipates an announcement to come at Monday's regular Town Board meeting. "We've been discussing it," was all he would say.