Dyster’s claim that health care benefits are necessary to attract council candidates is ridiculous

Last week the Reporter broke a story detailing how Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster had vetoed the recently passed council resolution ending the perk of taxpayer paid health insurance for future council members.


Mayor Paul Dyster does not want to end health care perks for future part time council members.

While the mayor’s killing of the cost saving resolution has puzzled reporters and the general public alike no one has dared to go beyond the highly suspect veto and seek an answer to the question: Why did the mayor veto a perfectly fine, though rare, cost cutting council resolution?

On the face of his veto the mayor would have us believe that the health insurance benefit “is needed to attract the best possible council candidates.” The mayor would like us to accept two things that aren’t true: 1) the elected position of public servant is the same as the hired position of public employee, and 2) both private sector employees and elected officials must be offered employee benefit packages…even though one is hired and the other elected.

Once again the mayor has triangulated the argument (see our articles on the mayor’s cricket field for a discussion of Dyster triangulation) by turning the questions of the propriety of health insurance for council members into a hollow claim of “If you don’t provide free health insurance and the costly opt out clause then you’re against good government!” To that the Reporter says, horse feathers.

There’s more here than meets the eye but what can it be? Since the mayor’s argument is dead on delivery it must be something else.  After all Mr. Dyster is a mayor not a council member. What possessed him to put his proverbial nose into council business…cost cutting business so rare that it hasn’t been seen in recent memory.

Next year the council seats of Grandinetti, Touma and Walker are open for filling. Are there potential new candidates in the wings that the mayor wants to see on the council? Are those possible future members of the council going to seek office with hopes of scoring either the health insurance or the opt out cash award that’s given for declining the health insurance? Remember, the council position pays a respectable $12,000 annually (for attending 26 biweekly meetings) along with $10,000 in opt out cash for those qualified for that particular goodie.

One wonders how far Dyster wants to take his comparison of the council position to full time city employee. Would the mayor support the council forming an “elected officials union”? Does he think the council should have the right to picket or strike? Since he wants the council members to receive benefits intended for contractual employees maybe he’d like to see the council negotiate their own employment contract. We pose these questions in view of the mayor’s curious veto and his silly notion that employment benefit packages are necessary to attract qualified council candidates.

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