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James Griffin Resigns from Buffalo Common Council

By Associated Press

Buffalo, NY – Buffalo's longest-serving mayor, who returned to City Hall as a council member last year, said Friday he will resign.

James Griffin, 75, wrote in a letter to a fellow council member that his resignation would take effect Sunday. No reason was given.

Griffin did not immediately return telephone messages left at his office and home.

"This is a surprise to everybody," Mayor Anthony Masiello said after learning of the letter late Friday.

Griffin's election to the Common Council in 2003 marked a political comeback for the colorful politician, whose more amusing quotes have been assembled in book form. He unseated an incumbent in the Democratic primary and went on to easily win the general election.

Griffin spent a record four terms as Buffalo mayor, from 1977 until 1993. He began his political career on the Common Council more than 40 years ago, the same body from which he resigned on Friday.

Masiello described a "more mellow, more understanding" Griffin than the one who sparred famously with the Common Council as mayor.

"He's distinguished himself as a true advocate for senior citizens and the people of the South District," Masiello said. "He's had a long and distinguished career and I wish him well."

Most people continued to call Griffin simply "Mayor" long after his departure from the post, though for a time both friends and foes referred to him as "Six-pack Jimmy" from his still oft-repeated advice during a 1985 blizzard: "Stay inside, grab a six-pack and watch a good football game."

The Common Council must approve a replacement, who would then run for election this year to serve out the remaining half of the four-year term.