Site icon The Niagara Reporter

Are Democrats Scrambling to Find a Job for Ceretto?

It seems fitting that the last post to appear on the Facebook page of former Assemblyman John D. Ceretto was one memorializing the attack on Pearl Harbor. For Ceretto, it is not Dec. 7th that will be a date that lives in infamy, but rather, Nov. 8th.

That was the date that newly-inaugurated Assemblyman Angelo Morinello bombed and strafed Ceretto, sinking him in a 7-point electoral rout—a marked departure for a man who, just two years ago, cruised to reelection without opposition.

One top Republican we spoke to, however, disputed our characterization.

“Nov. 8th is a lot more like August…August-whatever-it-was [Aug. 6, 1945], when we bombed the [Japanese] at Hiroshima,” the high-ranking Republican official told us over lunch at a local dive. “When John Ceretto jumped to the Democrats, that was like Pearl Harbor—a sneak attack. And John got what was coming to him, just like the [Japanese].”

Of course, while it might strain our Republican friend’s analogy a bit, Ceretto now is like post-World War II Japan—a bombed-out shell hoping to be rebuilt.

Numerous contacts have told the Niagara Falls Reporter that Ceretto is trying to land a coveted new gig at New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.  Before Ceretto bumbled into the Assembly six years ago after coming out on top in a three-way race featuring defeated incumbent Francine DelMonte playing spoiler against Democrat primary winner John Accardo, he worked as a tour guide at Niagara Falls State Park.

Now, Ceretto, who spent his days leading groups of visitors up and down the steep sides of the Niagara Gorge, is hoping to attain an office more befitting a former State Assemblyman.  One source close to Niagara County Democratic Chairman Nick Forster even suggested the former Assemblyman, most noted for his turncoat antics that moved him from the local Republican Party to Andrew Cuomo’s Albany Democrats—and out of the good graces of his gun-owning constituents, was lobbying Cuomo to take over the entire state agency from Commissioner Rose Harvey.

Cooler heads on the Democratic side tell us that is highly unlikely, but that Ceretto is being looked at closely to possibly replace Mark Thomas, the liberal former Chautauqua County Executive Eliot Spitzer placed in charge of the Parks’ Western District—still a huge bureaucracy, with 40 parks and lots of moving parts. Thomas, however, actually holds a degree in Park Management, while Ceretto is trained as a teacher.

Ceretto did, however, devise a trolley that connects Niagara Falls State Park with local hotels—an accomplishment he frequently boasts about.

Despite this, Democrats were not particularly bullish about Ceretto gaining a high post in the Parks office.

As one Democratic stalwart told us, who, like his Republican counterpart, asked his identity be withheld so he could speak with greater candor: “Look, John would be out of his depth running a single park—even the Niagara Falls State Park is more than he can handle. Maybe the Lewiston Dog Park, but anything more than that, and he’d be in charge of people, which would be a disaster.”

“Still, I suppose Gov. Cuomo has to help him pay his bills,” our source added after a moment’s reflection.

The insider did note that local Democrats are concerned that Ceretto will bring his former Assembly chief of staff, Rob Nichols—whose unrestrained email comments about punishing local communities for perceived slights are credited with derailing Ceretto’s reelection effort—along with him to a new post.

“We’re done cleaning up after this guy,” the Democrat leader told us.

Given how spectacularly Ceretto detonated, it’s hard to fathom why Cuomo would even consider hiring him to sort interoffice mail in the State Capitol’s basement mailroom, yet we heard similar explanations from our Republican and Democrat contacts, including a long-time Albany insider who told us simply, “Either Cuomo takes care of Ceretto, or he’ll never get another Republican to defect.”

Albany turncoats do, in fact, seem to generally fare well when their constituencies hand them their hats—so long as they were in the good graces of the leaders of their new party when their political shelf life was reached.

So, what does all this mean for Ceretto?  Our Republican contact was succinct:

“He’s the Democrats’ problem now. They stole him fair and square, and now they have to figure out where to stick him. Mowing lawns at the Olmsted park would be a fine use for his talents.”

Exit mobile version