In case anyone was wondering who has been calling the fiscal shots for the past 51 months of the Dyster administration, City Controller Maria Brown removed any doubt that it's been anyone but her in an April 10, 2012, Niagara Gazette article, written by Mark Scheer, titled "Falls jobs paid for with casino cash may be in jeopardy."
The controller flexed her muscles in the lead paragraph of the story, "City Controller Maria Brown believes it's time to consider laying off a group of city employees whose salaries are tied to casino cash."
Her remarks clearly caught Mayor Paul Dyster by surprise, and he spent part of April 10 explaining to Channel 2 Television News reporters that there was no need to dismiss those city employees.
He did not, however, dare to castigate Mrs. Brown for her loose lips and her decidedly non-team behavior.
If Mrs. Brown's strident call for the elimination of city jobs were to be followed, it would bring the city's economic development efforts to a sudden halt by abolishing that department.
Many City Hall observers have remarked to the Reporter as to how Mrs. Brown seems to have anointed herself as mayor. And our readers have commented further as to how she has exposed her ample hypocrisy.
If it is true that Mayor Dyster has robbed the bank, then it's fair to say the city controller has driven the getaway car.
It was rather amusing to watch the April 2 Council meeting as Mrs. Brown attempted to school newly elected City Council member Glenn Choolokian as to how the city's financial problems called for cuts to worker pensions, reduction in health benefits and increased taxes, with the elimination of city services through layoffs.
Mr. Choolokian, coming humbly, but proudly, from a hardworking background, begged to differ with Mrs. Brown. He informed her how the world works and how the workingmen and women work in that world.
Councilman Choolokian was not going to allow anyone to drop the spending evils of the Dyster administration at the feet of the city employees.
For Mayor Dyster's controller to lecture anyone about the ins and outs of irresponsible spending is laughable, when you consider that the controller has presided over a veritable orgy of wasteful spending.
A few items with which to prove the point:
If the controller has seen fit to call for the dismissal of six city employees, then why did she authorize, while a freeze was being considered, the Pothole Killer, the EEO/HR super department, hiring of a CD director at $70,000, an out-of-town trip for herself and her assistant -- to name but a few curious cost-cutting failures.
And why has the controller included the Holiday Market in the "casino spending plan" at a cost of $200,000 per year for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016?
No matter how you analyze the city's financial problems, the figures simply don't add up.
There's a disturbing disconnect between what is spent, what is planned, and how the deficit is defined.
But there may be more to this story.
Sources tell us that Mayor Dyster is living in fear that the county -- spelled Niagara County IDA Chief Henry "Mickey" Sloma and powerhouse New York State Sen. George Maziarz -- is trying to take over economic development in Niagara Falls.
In fact, Mr. Sloma recently pitched the City Council on the idea of the county and city working more closely together for mutual development benefit.
The mayor declined to swing at the pitch.
Mr. DeSantis was quoted in a news story as saying that Mr. Sloma "doesn't know what he's talking about," and City Planning Board Chairman Rick Smith said that Mr. Sloma was "full of baloney."
But is he?
While Mayor Dyster has boasted about his diplomatic skills -- skills allegedly honed in Geneva, Switzerland, across the table from the Soviets -- his skills don't appear to have rubbed off on his staff members.
If the Dyster economic development effort were to be abolished, as Mrs. Brown desires, it would be a clear dog whistle to the county that Mayor Dyster is incapable of funding the most modest of economic development efforts.
Mrs. Brown surely understands this political reality.
With the fiscal credibility of the Dyster administration circling the drain, the controller is preparing her post-Dyster alibi: Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player.
Mayor Dyster has written the music, and Mrs. Brown has willingly banged out Dyster's tune for the past 51 months on her budget piano.
It's too late to pretend it never happened.
Mayor Paul Dyster and Maria Brown declined to return repeated calls seeking interviews.>
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||April 17 2012|