Call have begun calling for Cheektowaga Councilman James Rogowski to resign after pleading guilty to second-degree contempt in connection with a domestic incident that occurred in February.
He originally was charged with felony criminal contempt and jailed overnight after his arrest for violating an order of protection. He was accused of violating an order of protection after he allegedly chased after his wife in his vehicle as she was driving her car on Orchard Park Road in West Seneca according to West Seneca Police.
Assemblymember Monica Wallace released the following statement:
“By pleading guilty to a domestic violence charge, Mr. Rogowski has demonstrated his unfitness to serve public office. No public official is above the law. Mr. Rogowski took an oath to uphold the laws of this state. By his own admission, he has failed to do that and should therefore resign immediately.
“This cannot be dismissed as merely a personal matter. Domestic violence is a crime, and Mr. Rogowski admitted in court to committing that crime. Domestic violence allegations should be taken seriously whenever they are made, especially when they involve the actions of an elected official.
“I ran for Assembly two years ago to fill a seat after the two previous Assembly members betrayed the public’s trust. I pledged to hold myself and other elected officials accountable. For that reason, I believe it’s important for Mr. Rogowski to step down.”
Erie County Democratic Chairmain Jeremy Zellner:
“At a time when faith in the integrity of elected officials has been badly tested, Jim Rogowski should put the interests of his constituents ahead of his own,” Zellner said. “The people of Cheektowaga deserve a council devoted entirely to public matters without the distraction of personal conflicts and legal issues. It is time for Councilman Rogowski to step aside in order to focus on healing his family and allow the business of town government to go forward.”
Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski is reviewing the situation to determine whether Rogowski’s guilty plea affects his status as town councilman, said Matt Janiszewski, assistant to the supervisor.
“I’m waiting on an opinion from our town counsel as to whether he automatically vacated his seat when he pled guilty to a domestic violence incident,” said Benczkowski. “As an elected official we are all held to a high standard, and this case involved domestic violence.”
Rogowski, a Democrat, retained his seat on the Cheektowaga Town Board despite calls for him to resign.