CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Cheektowaga Town Board member will not be censured following a vote during a contentious meeting on Tuesday night.
The story started in August at a town board meeting when Councilman Brian Nowak presented photos of ethics board applicant Julie Parke’s home that allegedly showed a Confederate flag hanging out in front of her home.
Parke said that she does not support the Confederate flag and that her husband put it up in 2017. She says she fought him to take it down after a few days.
The town board did not pass her appointment in a 3-3 vote with one abstention, which was Nowak. The resolution also accuses Nowak of using political power to stop the deputy superintendent from receiving any management position.
Nowak read a prepared statement which said the accusations are false and that he felt he was being transparent when presenting his concerns about the ethics board applicant. He has also retained legal counsel and when asked if he is suing the town, he said he is keeping his options open. The resolution Tuesday was sponsored by supervisor Diane Benczkowski and Councilman Michael Jasinski, who is running against Nowak in the supervisor’s race in November.
“I reject all the claims in this resolution that assert I did anything wrong to violate my oath of office. In my view, and what I suspect is the majority of the residents in Cheektowaga, the resolution is politically motivated,” Nowak said.
Benczkowski says her resolution would’ve prevented a future lawsuit against the town. She adds that by not passing it, the town is now wide open for any lawsuit.
“I remember that day,” Benczkowski said. “I said does anybody need an executive session. Everybody said no. We never disparage an applicant out in public, ever. I’ve never been here all these years that we’ve done that.”
As for the residents, most of the two public comment periods were about this resolution. Some spoke out in support of Nowak bringing forth the photo, while others accused him of defaming the candidate.
Councilman Brian Pilarski voted against the proposed resolution on Tuesday. He suggested a resolution be put forth to investigate Nowak’s actions. Benczkowski said she hopes to have a resolution drafted by next meeting.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.