Updated, Nov. 11, 10 a.m. with comments from Schmidt:
The City of Batavia has drafted a resolution appointing Tammy Schmidt as city council’s new Sixth Ward representative, replacing Rose Mary Christian, who resigned on Nov. 15.
The matter is the only item on the agenda of a Special Business Meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, prior to the governing body’s Conference Meeting and Regular Business Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room.
According to the resolution, Section 3.3 of the City Charter provides that when a position of Council Member becomes vacant, pending the election and qualification of a Council Member to fill the vacancy, the council shall fill the vacancy temporarily by appointment of a qualified person, who shall be the same political affiliation as the Council Member whose place has become vacant.
Schmidt is a Republican, as is Christian, who switched from the Democratic Party sometime after she was elected to her eighth -- and final -- term.
When Christian announced her retirement, it triggered a back-and-forth among the City Republican and Democrat committees as well as current City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. and Batavia resident John Roach, who was part of the City Charter Commission.
Republicans contend that the Charter wording clearly indicates that a Republican should fill the seat, while Democrats were looking for a legal ruling in light of Christian changing affiliations. That, apparently, did not happen.
RICHMOND: CHARTER IS VERY CLEAR
City Republican Chair Rich Richmond today said the “Charter is very clear – the appointment will be made by the Republican Party; a Republican will take that position.”
Richmond said he is going with what the Charter actually states “and not on what if, or how come or whatever?”
He added that Democrats have made this a political issue.
“There is nothing political about it. When they did the Charter, it was a bipartisan commission, including Republicans, Democrats and Conservatives. Nobody had a problem with it until it has come up now,” he offered.
Schmidt, a lifelong Batavian who grew up as Tammy Trigilio, has been employed for the past seven years as the financial management assistant for Genesee Justice and the Child Advocacy Center.
Prior to that, she worked for Genesee County Mental Health and Genesee County Workforce Investment. She and her husband, Mark, live on Osterhout Avenue. They have a daughter and son-in-law, Kristina and Tony Ferrando, and two grandchildren.
Richmond said he is impressed with Schmidt's credentials.
"Tammy has an excellent resume and is very intelligent and well-informed," he said. "I'm sure she will do a great job."
SCHMIDT: IT'S IMPORTANT TO GET INVOLVED
Contacted Saturday morning, Schmidt said that she has been part of the political workings in the city for quite some time and is looking forward to applying her experience -- and her love for her hometown -- "to help make it grow and prosper and be a great place for our kids and grandkids to want to stick around."
She currently is the Republican Committee Sixth Ward chair and previously served in that capacity for the Fifth Ward. Both her and her husband have been on the committee for several years and she said she is committed to learning more about city government.
"We're invested in this community," she said, adding that they own three rental properties in the Sixth Ward. "I don't want to use the tagline that Batavia Downs (Gaming) uses when they say, Dine, Stay and Play, but we live, work and play in Batavia."
When asked about replacing Christian, who served for 29-plus years, Schmidt said she has "big shoes to fill."
"Actually, I have had several conversations with Rose Mary, and she was very generous in giving me her endorsement," she said."And I still told her I plan to pick her brain. You can't beat that type of experience.
"Rose Mary was very vocal and she advocated for people to speak their minds. To me, if you want to incoporate any change, you need to be active and involved. You can't just sit home. Things aren't going to happen that way."