Amherst councilman Steve Bukovac suddenly resigns

By Jason Hawk -



Steve Bukovac has resigned from Amherst city council 10 months before the end of his term.

Conspicuously absent the past two meetings, the reason became clear Monday when council clerk Linda Turley read his letter of resignation.

“During my nearly four full terms on council, I have witnessed many talented and hard-working members of our community work to make Amherst prosper,” Bukovac wrote. “I also believe that some of that success had roots in our council chambers. For that, I thank you for your leadership.”

Bukovac was elected in 2009 to represent Amherst’s first ward. His term was set to expire Dec. 31.

Councilman Chuck Winiarski (R-3rd Ward) said Monday that it was “with much regret and a heavy heart” to accept the resignation of “probably one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen.”

Those thoughts were echoed by councilman Joe Miller and president John Dietrich.

We learned Feb. 1 that Bukovac did not intend to seek another two years on council. He was not among candidates who met the state deadline to file petitions seeking office.

On Tuesday, he said he wants to apply for a part-time information technology position council is expected to create in coming weeks.

The job will entail updating Amherst’s “1980s technology” for the 21st century.

But Bukovac can’t apply for that job while holding a council seat. He consulted law director Tony Pecora, who made it clear he needed to resign before showing interest in the IT position.

“It’s a tough decision. I enjoyed being part of the process. I took a lot of pride in what I did there,” Bukovac said.

He said he’s proud of council’s record during his tenure, helping former mayor David Taylor through hard times, and seeing current mayor Mark Costilow reenergize the city.

But Bukovac said he’s also frustrated with a lot of behind-the-scenes work to prepare legislation that never made it to the floor. He said Amherst needs to review its old, outdated ordinances and he also wanted to debate term limits for council seats.

Now the Amherst Democratic Committee will get to decide who will fill Bukovac’s seat through 2017.

The smart money is on Brian Dembinski, who has already filed to run for the office in a bid for a 2018-2019 term.

“He’s been wanting to get involved in city council for a few years. But with respect to my being in the position, he always held off a challenge,” Bukovac said.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.


By Jason Hawk