ONEONTA _ Newly elected Sixth Ward Council Member Mike Naples died Monday morning.
He was 58.
Naples, who retired in 2009 after three decades on the city work force, ran for the Common Council last year as an independent. The lifelong city resident won by a wide margin.
Mayor Dick Miller announced the death early Monday afternoon.
"I first met Mike Naples as I was going door to door as a candidate. I found him refreshingly blunt, passionate about the city and with a great sense of humor. We met again during his campaign and again after his election," Miller said. "Prior to his swearing in, and since, I interacted with him frequently. He was already weighing in on important issues and making real contributions. I was enjoying him and will miss him greatly. My heart goes out to his family and close friends."
Dan Obergefell, former head of the city water department, said he worked with Naples for a long time and was with him when he died Monday morning.
"You couldn't find a more dedicated guy," Obergefell said. "He was helping a friend of his out with a problem in his cellar, and I guess he just had a massive heart attack."
Naples appeared jovial and enthusiastic at his first Common Council meeting last Tuesday, where he was one of five new council members.
Obergefell said Naples was looking forward to sharing the knowledge he gained in three decades working in several different city departments. Naples was approaching his new duties as a council member from a non-traditional direction, he said.
"He was the working-class guy who worked for the city," Obergefell said.
Naples is survived by his wife, Jean, and several adult children.
The city charter calls for the mayor to make an appointment to fill vacant Common Council seats until the next election. That appointment must be approved by council members.
Naples death is the first of a sitting, elected official since then-Eighth Ward Alderman Asa Allison Jr. died in December 2005.