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Apr 15 - Apr 23, 2014

Restaino on the Charter Revisions and Mayoral Possibilities

By Frank Parlato

April 15, 2014

Robert Restaino

Niagara Falls attorney and former Judge Robert Restaino was hired earlier this year by the Niagara Falls City Council to clarify certain aspects of the city charter. 

Essentially his job is to determine what is duplicate, obsolete and contradictory between the 1985 charter, the 1916 charter and a series of laws on the books that might be in conflict. 

Anything not changed in the 1985 charter is covered by 1916 charter," Restaino explained, as he discussed the reason he was performing this task.

"It's important to have a clear set of rules, and laws and not based on three or more sets of documents. Then these, once clarified, will be uploaded (online) so anybody can review any provision of the laws that govern Niagara Falls."

As for changes to the charter, Restaino said this is not a charter commission. 

While the single most requested change is to add a provision to permit recall elections,  Restaino said the people must invoke a referendum if they seek such a change in the charter. 

A recall election is an electorate power that allows the people to take a second vote and, if successful, remove from office an alleged rascal who broke his or her campaign promises or is otherwise unfit. 

Most democratic charters have such a provision. Curiously, the Niagara Falls city charter does not. 

The history of recalls, which are initiated when a sufficient number of voters sign a petition, dates back to ancient Athenian democracy.

In 2011, there were at least 150 recall elections in the United States. Of these, 75 elected officials were recalled, and nine resigned under threat of a recall. 

Asked whether he will run for mayor of Niagara Falls in 2015, Restaino said he would not rule it out. 

"I haven't made a decision. A number of people have raised the question. I have a burning desire to serve the city. Anything I can do to help the city, I would do…. As of now, I don't know just yet."





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Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
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