ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s official: Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has submitted her letter of resignation to City Council.
The tendering of the mayor’s resignation was included as part of the terms of a plea deal she accepted Monday in court. The guilty plea reduced her felony campaign finance charges to election law violations, meaning she could keep her law license.
The mayor’s guilty plea also resolved separate criminal charges in an unrelated case, stemming from a drug bust in May that led to her estranged husband’s arrest. In that case, the mayor was facing charges of criminal possession of a firearm, a Class E felony, with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor and two counts of failure to lock/secure firearms in a dwelling — a misdemeanor in violation of the Rochester City Code.
Her resignation will be effective at 11:59 p.m. on December 1, 2021. Deputy Mayor James Smith will succeed Warren for a month until Councilmember Malik Evans is sworn in as the city’s new mayor come January.
Mayor’s resignation letter
Dear President Scott and Vice President Lightfoot:
It has been my pleasure serving the City of Rochester. First as the Northeast’s representative on City Council, then as President of Council and now as Mayor. Together, we’ve built safer more vibrant neighborhoods, more jobs and better educational opportunities for our citizens. We ROC(ed) the Riverway, protected our city throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, provided over 9,000 residents with new, affordable homes and our Downtown is finally coming back. We have truly transformed every corner of Rochester.
As clear evidence of our success, we recently announced that Constellation Brands—a Fortune 500 company—is moving to our Center City. At long last, we have people gathering and dining on Main Street with the addition of the Mercantile on Main at the revitalized Sibley Building. And “@ the 5” we introduced a new entertainment venue so all who visit there can show the world that they “Love The ROC” as much as we do.
In every corner of our city, not just Downtown, we have new life, new jobs and a renewed sense of community. We’ve delivered innovative solutions to rebuild our neighborhoods in partnership with our not-for-profit developers. We finally delivered on our promises by filling in the Inner Loop East, building the International Plaza at La Marketa, saving the Genesee Brewery, finishing the Marina at our Port and beginning the revitalization of Bulls Head and Inner Loop North.
We also responded to the greatest challenge of our era and reimagined policing by forming the “Person In Crisis” team, the Office of Neighborhood Safety and a fully-funded Police Accountability Board. No other city has acted so quickly and so definitively to create a government that does more than simply police its community. Rather, we put systems in place that truly address the safety and well-being of all its citizens.
Before the pandemic, Rochester was truly a city on the rise. Over $2 billion in private investment has happened during my tenure as Mayor, which created thousands of construction and permanent jobs. We made sure city residents participated in this growth through successful job training programs like ReJob and YAMTEP which have helped hundreds start meaningful and profitable careers. We empowered Black, Brown and Women-owned businesses by increasing City spending with them by over 300 percent, providing them with over $27 million in the last three years alone.
We also helped our children and families like never before by providing a nationally-recognized, universal Pre-K program and increasing the number of children it served by over 1,200 percent. We also proved that neighborhood-based community schools like School No. 17 can lift up families and children when we surround them with easily accessible medical and dental care, job training and social services. It my sincere hope that all levels of government will embrace working with our school district to deliver community schools to every neighborhood.
I could go on for many more pages and share with you the work that we put in and the results we achieved. However, there is no doubt that together, we delivered for the people of Rochester in every corner of our city. I will always be grateful to all of my partners in City government: City Council, Deputy Mayor Smith, my Senior Management Team and especially, the thousands of City employees who work tirelessly because they believe in our community. I am also thankful to our partners at the County, State and Federal government levels. Rochester is truly at its best when we come together and my tenure as Mayor has certainly benefitted from that.
I do not believe at moments like this that we should reflect and focus on the negative. Instead, we should remain grateful for all the Lord has allowed us to accomplish and humbled by the opportunity He continues to present us. That truly is where I am today. Grateful for His blessings and humbled by His generosity. Ultimately, I will let history judge my tenure as Mayor and all that we have experienced. I have been truly blessed and rest assured in my faith for all of our futures.
Today, I made a choice and I chose my family, especially my miracle baby, my daughter Taylor. I chose a path that presents her, our city and, yes, myself, with the best possible future. I made this choice believing that the best is yet to come for all of us. However, this choice, like so many difficult ones I have made, requires sacrifice. Therefore, I must inform you that I will resign from the Office of Mayor of the City of Rochester, effective at 11:59 p.m. on December 1, 2021.
Until that time, I plan to continue serving this city as I have done all these years. I plan to continue to push for equal rights under the law, reparations and doing the work for our citizens. It has truly been my pleasure to work with you. I will always believe in Rochester. May God continue to bless you and our city.
Lovely A. Warren Mayor
Prior to being mayor, Warren served on Rochester City Council from 2007 through 2013, and was elected as Council President in 2010, becoming the youngest person to hold that position in the Council’s history.
Warren was the first woman to become Rochester mayor, and the city’s youngest mayor in modern times. She was born and raised in the city’s 19th Ward Neighborhood.
Warren published a brief post on Facebook Monday where she thanked Rochester, said she’s looking forward to the future, and added she was grateful to be able to “choose family over everything.”
The mayor said in court, on advice from her counsel, that she would refrain from commenting on the guilty plea Monday and she exited the Hall of Justice without addressing reporters, making her only public statement on the social media platform that had an extended outage throughout the day. She wrote:
“Leaving the past behind and looking forward to a brighter future. Thank you Rochester. We’ve accomplished a lot together, but in the end, I thank God that I’m able to choose family over everything.”