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Rose Mary Christian nears end of nearly 30-year run on City Council; farewell party, proclamation set for Nov. 22

By Mike Pettinella


Depending upon the closing date of the home that she and her daughter, Raelene, have purchased on Holmes Avenue, Rose Mary Christian is about to close the door on a nearly 30-year career as a member of the Batavia City Council.

Because Christian (in file photo above) is moving from her Williams Street home of 22 years in the Sixth Ward, which she represents, to the First Ward, she will be ineligible to continue on the governing body.

“I would think that we will close on the house within a month,” she said earlier this evening.

If the transaction is finalized before Council’s next meeting on Nov. 8 and Christian is in her new residence, it would mean that Monday night’s meeting was her final hurrah.

During her tenure, she was known for her willingness to speak her mind – ruffling feathers along the way – and fought valiantly to keep taxes down and for her constituents in the Sixth Ward.

The Sixth Ward covers the area south of Main Street and east of Liberty Street, extending to the Genesee County Fairgrounds on East Main Street.

Christian said she will miss the interaction with the residents and her colleagues.

“You know what I’m going to miss is the people in this ward. Am I going to miss Council? Yeah, I’m going to miss some of those people – quite a bit,” she said. “I might have not been able to override them that many times, but I gave it my best. I voted what I believe, you bet I did. And if I voted for four budgets, that’s saying a lot.”

According to the City Charter, someone will have to be appointed to replace Christian and complete her term, which is up for election in two more years, she said,

Christian switched affiliations from Democrat to Republican about 18 months ago, and thinks that could be an issue.

“There will be a problem with it because of the fact that I was a Democrat when I won the last election – and that was my eighth term to be elected,” she said, noting that she served the community for 29 ¾ years.

A check of the City Charter, Chapter 3, Section 3, reads as follows:

“Vacancies in the office of Council member shall be filled by election for the remainder of the unexpired term at the next general election occurring not less than 60 days after the occurrence of the vacancy. Such election to fill a vacancy where it occurs after the last day to file nominating petitions for the primary election shall be filled upon nominations made in the manner provided by law for the filling of vacancies in primary nominations occurring after the primary election.

“Pending such election and qualification of a Council member to fill a vacancy, Council shall fill the vacancy temporarily by appointment of a qualified person who shall be of the same political affiliation as the Council member whose place has become vacant and, if he or she was a ward Council member, a resident of the same ward.

"In the event that Council shall fail to appoint within 30 days after the vacancy, such appointment must be made by the Council President. This appointment must be made within 10 days under the same conditions as to political affiliation and residency noted in the paragraph above."

Going by the paragraph in boldface -- but yet to be confirmed by the city attorney, City Republicans would make the appointment since Christian now is a registered Republican.

Christian said that city leaders have scheduled a farewell party for her on Nov. 22 at City Hall Council Board Room. At the conclusion of that event, which runs from 5:15 to 7 p.m., City Council will present her with a proclamation in recognition of her service.

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