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Tonawanda's Caruana quietly ending two terms as Supervisor

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

He never considered himself a politician, even while serving two terms in office. Now, fulfilling a promise to his wife not seek a third term, Anthony Caruana is quietly ending his run as Town of Tonawanda Supervisor, a run that had plenty of achievements but little to no serious controversies.

Caruana retired in 2006 after serving 36 years as an educator and 33 years in the military. Then, one year later, he was called upon to run for Town of Tonawanda Supervisor.

"I guess the interesting perspective is I don't belong to any political party," said Caruana, who was endorsed by the Democratic, Conservative, Working Families and Independence parties but also has family members who are Republicans. "I try my best to get along with everyone. I don't consider myself a politician but more a public servant."

The town's economic development over the past eight years includes the opening of the North Youngmann Commerce Center, where three businesses have bought space, the Riverview Solar Technology Park and Colvin Woods Business Park. He also helped the town achieve its highest credit rating ever with Moody's.

He recalled being reluctant to spend the money to travel to New York City but did so to deliver a presentation to Moody's officials that detailed the town's financial reform and discipline.

"We showed them the fiscal restraints and things we had done. We increased the reserve balance that was there," Caruana said. "They looked at us and they looked like they were impressed. The next day I got a phone call, and they said they were so impressed ... they were ready to downgrade our bond rating because the previous administration used all the fund balance to pay for taxes. What they did instead was raise it to the highest level we've ever had."

While Caruana says he disliked the politics and side deals, his greatest flaw was perhaps taking things too personally sometimes. It added to the stress which, along with his promise to his wife not to seek re-election, led to his decision to retire. Caruana told WBFO he is recovering from recent triple-bypass surgery, perhaps a consequence of some of that stress.

Now, though, he's looking forward to spending more time with his wife and family, and doing some traveling. 

Deputy Supervisor Joseph Emminger, who was elected to replace Caruana last month, officially takes over on January 2.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.