Ryan Undercoffer, the fresh faced, ebullient confidential secretary to the Niagara Falls City Council, hired because he was "young," has left his job this week - after one year and four months of duty.
According to sources, Undercoffer is taking a position at Community Development for better pay and a private office. There, he will be able to concentrate on Mayor Paul A. Dyster's reelection campaign.
Another campaign supporter will replace Undercoffer at council offices.
But being a Dyster supporter is how one gets a job at city hall.
It is how Undercoffer got his job in the first place. And it is why he had to leave the council offices.
Dyster is running for reelection. But the council secretary works for the five member council. One of these members, Glenn Choolokian, is running against Dyster in the Democratic primary. How could Undercoffer work on Dyster's campaign against Choolokian and work for Choolokian at the same time.
Consider how Undercoffer came to city hall in Jan 1 2014.
He was appointed to the council secretary position by Kristen Grandinetti, Charles Walker and Andrew Touma - known as the Dyster majority. Glenn Choolokian voted against hiring Undercoffer and Robert Anderson opposed it but was absent on the day of the vote.
Before Undercoffer was appointed, the 25- year old Falls native served as vice chair of the city's Democratic Committee in 2012 and vice chair for county Democrats in 2013. His services in 2013 were instrumental in ousting former Council Member Sam Fruscione and getting Touma, Grandinetti and Walker elected.
Undercoffer helped design campaign literature and wrote attack ads for radio - which another Dyster political hire - Brook D'Angelo, the SWEET team director - performed the voice talent. They were hard hitting ads attacking and criticizing Fruscione and praising Walker, Grandinetti and Touma.
Undercoffer played a central role in the election of the pro Dyster council majority which came to power on Jan 1, 2014 - the same day they hired Undercoffer.
The same Dyster majority told Kevin J. Ormsby - who Undercoffer was to replace - that he, Ormsby, had a choice - retire and be able to collect health insurance or be fired and lose it.
Ormsby did not want to leave his job. But the council majority was adamant.
Walker said the council majority did not hire Undercoffer because he helped them get elected. Walker told the Niagara Gazette (Jan. 5, 2014) that "Undercoffer was nominated because he is young."
Grandinetti told the Buffalo News (Jan. 6 2014) she thought it was an opportunity to bring in a "young, fresh face" to the Council. Ormsby was 61. After he was retired-or-be-fired, Ormsby filed an age discrimination complaint against the city of Niagara Falls with the New York State Division of Human Rights. The matter is reportedly still pending. Since we mentioned age discrimination, it is only fair to mention another kind of discrimination - gender - which Dyster accused the old council majority of practicing when it came to Ormsby.
During the 2013 campaign season, Dyster criticized Ormsby's $46,180 salary in a guest view in the Niagara Gazette. Dyster said that the male secretary Ormsby - at $46,180 - was making $5,500 more than Dyster's female secretary, Bridget Miles, and city administrator's female secretary, Cindy Ransom. "The city council pays their assistant more, but he's a man, whereas the other two are women. Does that seem fair?" Dyster wrote.
But in 2014, when the council took in young Undercoffer - also a male - at Ormsby's exact salary, Undercoffer earned $5,500 more than the female secretaries of Dyster and City Administrator Donna Owens. But you wouldn't know that since Dyster never said a word about it. And he didn't give a raise to his secretary either.