City Council President Says He Was Caught Off Guard By Councilman Departure

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JAMESTOWN – Current Jamestown City Council President Tony Dolce knows he’ll most definitely remain on the Council given that he’s running unopposed in the 2021 election this fall. 

His future as president, however, remains uncertain following an announcement Thursday morning from Ward V City Councilman Grant Olson stating that he would not be running for re-election for his seat. Olson will remain on the ballet against Democrat Doug Lawson, as it’s too late for anyone to be removed from the ballet.

WNY News Now spoke with Dolce later Thursday following the announcement. Dolce says Olson’s decision caught officials by surprise.

“He took everybody by surprise. Everybody on the Republican caucus was taken by surprise. I really wish he had talked to us first from the political standpoint,” Dolce said. “Obviously it creates a greater challenge because in order to hold the majority, we need to have others step up and successful (in the election).”

If Olson obtains the most votes, he would then need to decide if he’d accept or decline the victory for the seat. Dolce says that the Council and Republican caucus haven’t yet absorbed the news.

“It was certainly disappointing to me, certainly disappointing to others,” Dolce said. “Grant has been on one term. He’s been an active member of the DPW Committee, (as well as) a member of the BPU Board.” The President said, as of interview time, that he hadn’t had a change to speak with Olson regarding his decision.

Despite Olson’s decision, Dolce says the Republicans still have a chance at retaining that majority. The Republicans have three candidates that they’re running for the At-Large position, while each of the six wards have a Republican candidate. Wards I and II have Councilmen Brent Sheldon and Dolce unopposed, and Olson remains on Ward V ballot.

Olson defeated Ward V Councilwoman Maria Jones in the 2019 election.

The Republican wasn’t the first Councilperson to step aside for the next term. Councilwoman At-Large Tamu Graham-Reinhardt announced earlier this year that she wouldn’t be seeking another term in office.


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