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It's Time to Play "The Blame Game" in Lewiston

By Joseph Donovan

The NYS Comptroller's Office is back in the Lewiston Town Hall again and the auditors are reviewing the records of who used how much gas and for what. It's pretty much the same thing they did back in 2011 when their final report to the town board highlighted extremely suspicious use of fuel by former town supervisor Steve Reiter. We now know by his admissions to this newspaper that it was outright theft.

That report came out two years before Reiter and two cops were finally caught red-handed stealing gas. It seems a lot of people around town are wondering how this was allowed to continue for so long. People are saying that if the town board had taken proper action two years ago none of this would have happened, and they are probably right. There is no way, however, any of the town board members are going to step up and accept any responsibility.

So now "The Blame Game" starts.

When asked about the fuel issue, Councilman Ron Winkley recently told another publication that "the responsibility lies with all department heads" (not the town board). Which "department head" was supposed to be making sure that Steve Reiter wasn't still stealing gas? Who was supposed to be keeping an eye on Reiter's fuel use after the Comptroller's Office put the town board on notice of the problem back in 2011?

Isn't it part of the job of the town board to be checking those things, or were receipts for his gas purchases just part of the pile of other bills and receipts that, as one councilman recently admitted during a board meeting, are just "rubber stamped" every month? I am sure the auditors will have a lot of questions to ask town officials. They may even want to know why, after the report showed large, senseless amounts of fuel were being used by Reiter way back in 2010 and 2011, the Town Board did nothing. Unless it all took place quietly behind closed doors, there was no investigation. No questions were asked. No explanation was given. According to one local news source it wasn't just a matter of the town board not doing anything to prevent the theft of gas or allowing it to go on, but that the board actually "declined to implement any new security feature at the site."

According to NYS Law, a Town Board is responsible for the general management and control of the property and the finances of the town. It sure sounds to me like the buck stops there Ron.

So if you happen to be a Town of Lewiston councilman and you want to know how gas continued to be stolen during 2012 and 2013 and you are looking for somebody to blame for it I have some advice. Go find a mirror.




Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Feb 18, 2014