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Cunningham resigns from Town Council for job with MED

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MASSENA — After serving less than two years on the Town Council, Robert P. Cunningham has resigned from the board to take a job with the Massena Electric Department.

“It is with deep regret that I must submit my resignation as town of Massena council person,” he wrote in a letter submitted to the town clerk’s office.

Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said at this point he’s not sure what will become of the board’s vacant seat.

“I don’t think we’ve decided as a board what to do with the seat,” he said. “Our regular meeting is next week, and I would anticipate we’ll discuss it then.”

Mr. Gray said there are really only two options.

“Even if we filled the seat, they would have to run again in the fall,” he said. “Or we could leave it open until the fall and hope we don’t have any major disagreements that split us 2-2.”

In his letter, Mr. Cunningham, who did not return a call seeking comment, said a job like the one he’ll have at MED is something he’s been looking for since losing his job at General Motors Powertrain.

“Since the closure of General Motors Powertrain Plant in 2009, I have been looking for work and going to college full time,” he said. “The last four years have been very difficult and trying on my family as we strive to stay in Massena.”

When Mr. Cunningham saw the job opening for a building maintenance position at Massena Electric, he decided to apply. “By the grace of God and my qualifications, I was selected for employment to that position,” he wrote.

MED Superintendent Andrew J. McMahon said Mr. Cunningham’s first day at MED was Wednesday.

And while he served on the board for only a short time, Mr. Cunningham said his time on the board was time well spent.

“It has been an honor to serve the constituents of Massena as councilperson,” he wrote. “I appreciate all the help that the other council members have provided to me, along with our outstanding staff.”

Mr. Cunningham was elected to the board in 2012 and holds the seat previously occupied by John M. Wicke, who opted to not run for re-election at that time. He was unopposed in his bid for that vacant seat.

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