Longtime Mayor Steps Down Due To Rare Illness
ERIE, Pa. (AP) _ Mayor Louis Tullio stepped down Friday after nearly 24 years in office, appointing an aide to fill the remaining seven weeks of his term as he battles a rare, fatal illness.
A letter delivered Friday to City Clerk James Klemm said the six-term mayor has appointed Patricia Liebel, a longtime assistant, as acting mayor effective immediately.
″I told him I did not want him to do it, and he felt like he had to do it,″ Ms. Liebel said at a news conference. ″I hated to see it happen at this point when we’re within six weeks of a new administration.″
Tullio, 73, suffers from amyloidosis, a rare and fatal disease that deposits proteins in the heart, kidneys and other major organs. The illness has weakened Tullio’s heart and lungs and confined him to his home since May.
Pittsburgh Mayor Richard Caliguiri died of the same illness in May 1988.
Ms. Liebel, who lost a bid for the Democratic mayoral nomination in the May primary, will fill the post until Dec. 31. Councilwoman Joyce Savocchio, who was elected Mayor Tuesday in this northwestern Pennsylvania city of 120,000, takes over then.
″Because I feel this year’s budget is so important, I feel it is essential for someone to be readily available to meet and to make decisions,″ Tullio’s letter said.