|Mayor Paul Dyster likes to say he is a man of the people, easily accessible to the residents of Niagara Falls. Put it to the test. He is your public servant. Call him when you need him.
We like to be of service.
And that's true even if Mayor Paul Dyster doesn't like to return the compliment.
In a May 4 Niagara Falls Reporter article, we wrote of a Buffalo Spree Magazine interview with Mayor Dyster, published in January, 2013. The article stated that Niagara Falls Mayor Dyster "lists his home phone number and address on his website, and entertains calls from constituents who want to complain about streets not being plowed or a missed trash pickup."
This was so different from the Paul Dyster we know that we wondered if there was another Paul Dyster, the mayor of some other city, perhaps from a galaxy far, far away.
The Spree article went on to ask the mayor: You list your home address and telephone number on your website. Do constituents come to your house or call you?
Dyster: Once in a great while they come over in person, but I do get a lot of phone calls at my house, especially during blizzards and other bad weather events.
Spree: Why are they calling you?
Dyster: Because my number is out there and they feel like, "Hey, if I have a problem, why not go right to the top?"
Wow. Dyster's phone number is out there?
It is not on the city's website.
It's not on his Facebook page.
It's not on his website, www.dyster.com.
It's not anywhere we could find easily and we're pretty good at searching out things.
In the interest of helping the mayor help people reach him, back in May, we published his home phone number (716) 282-6694 and his home address (so you could stop by): 626 Orchard Parkway, Niagara Falls.
Now we realized that some people might prefer to email Mayor Dyster but are having trouble getting through.
That is because Mayor Dyster posts an email address (Paul.Dyster@niagarafallsny.gov) on the city's website (www.niagarafallsusa.org) that he doesn't read or respond to.
According to sources, anyone who emails him gets an automated response. At 2:20 pm on Saturday, June 21, we emailed him to find out if it was true.
We wrote: "Mayor Dyster, are you available for questions regarding policy? If so, when?"
One minute later we got this response:
"Appointments, meeting arrangements and matters that require a timely response should be directed to Bridgette Myles, Executive Assistant to the Mayor at (716) 286-4310."
Mayor Dyster replies to serious inquiries with an automated email response, and gives only the phone number of his assistant to screen him from the people.
Yet this is just the opposite of the man who said people would call him at home or drop by when they wanted to go right to the man at the top.
After some digging, we uncovered his two private email addresses.
They are: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please email him often at his private emails whenever you need to reach him.
And in case you can't reach the mayor at his home, or his home phone, or his private emails, we are also pleased to provide readers with his taxpayer-paid cell phone number.
Since you pay for it, you should have it.
His official cell phone number is 716-417-7458.
Call him often since, as Mayor Dyster has said, "my number is out there and (people) feel like, 'Hey, if I have a problem, why not go right to the top?'"
If you feel like you have a problem, call him.
After all, he's the man at the top.