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Council Mulling Over Water Board Pick; Grandinetti's Fracker Brother Is Candidate

The City Council of Niagara Falls will be voting on their appointment to the Niagara Falls Water Board shortly, but probably not this week.

That is because there is some dispute as to who it should be.

Three candidates are up for consideration for the one pick the council gets to make.

One of the three candidates on the list is Vincent J. Grandinetti, the brother of Councilmember Kristen Grandinetti.

Another is Gary Laible, the father of the city Democratic Committee chairwoman, Alicia Laible, who managed the coordinated campaigns to successfully elect the current three-member majority on the council of Andrew Touma, Charles Walker and Grandinetti.

Laible is a retired chemist who worked for decades at the Water Board.

The third name under consideration is Harry "Dick" Palladino, who is business manager of Laborers Local 91.

While certainly qualified, Palladino is seen as unlikely to get the nod.

He supported the unsuccessful candidacies of Sam Fruscione and Russ Vesci. His name was suggested by Councilmember Glenn Choolokian who, with the defeat of Fruscione, lost the majority.

The Niagara Falls Water Board is a separate agency from the city. It is controlled by a board of five individuals who are appointed (one each) by the governor, the local state Senator, the local State assembly member, the mayor and, as above mentioned, the council.

What is interesting, other than the fact that Grandinetti is trying to get her brother the appointment, is that her brother is an engineer for the fracking industry.

While it is true that water board members do not get any direct pay for serving on the water board, that does not stop them from voting on work that companies that are related to them will get.

Former Water Board Chairman Mike McNally is the business manager of the U. A. Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 22. He regularly voted to approve contracts with companies that in turn hired his union workers and this in turn directly benefitted his position as business manager.

Vincent J. Grandinetti is an engineer who has worked for Integral Waste and was regional manager for Casella Waste Management, a landfill operator that is building a recycling and disposal plant for fracking waste in McKean County, Pa..

In February 2012, the City Council majority led by Choolokian, Fruscione and Robert Anderson voted to ban the city from accepting fracking wastewater for treatment, transport, storage and disposal.

In October 2012, the Niagara Falls Reporter uncovered evidence that frack water was being stored at the city's wastewater treatment plant in violation of the city ordinance.

Whether or not fracking is permitted in New York State, billions of gallons of fracking waste from Pennsylvania and Ohio could be treated here.

The fracking water on site was from Pennsylvania.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster is an apparent supporter of bringing fracking waste into the city for treatment.

"Everybody knows that Niagara Falls, just from a technical standpoint, would be the candidate treatment facility for fracking water," he told the U. S. Chamber of Commerce in 2011.

With the defeat of Sam Fruscione, Dyster now has a supportive majority on the Council.

Frackers, and their supportive politicians, have been looking at Niagara Falls as a partial solution to the treating and disposing of fracking wastewater.

After Fruscione lost last November, the Reporter wrote that "the issue of fracking may be the sleeper issue in Niagara Falls in 2014. And Niagara Falls is ready to wake up to it."

Now Councilmember Kristen Grandinetti is proposing her fracker brother Vincent Grandinetti.

Keep an eye on this one.



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

Jan 21, 2014