Is the real reason why Niagara Falls has gone without a city engineer for 53 of the 96 months that Paul Dyster has served as mayor because he already has one?
David Jaros, formerly of Li-Ro Engineers and now of Clark Patterson Lee has managed to get most of the work that would normally be performed by a city engineer, but at a much inflated price.
And when Jaros moved from Li-Ro to Clark Patterson Lee following the completion of the North Main Street city courthouse project, Dyster – without explanation – switched his allegiance from the former company to the latter.
Jaros has served as the ersatz “city engineer” on projects ranging from the courthouse to the Lewiston Road to 72nd Street.
He has contributed to Dyster’s campaign war chest and attended fundraisers given for his friend and benefactor.
During the months of the courthouse construction, and subsequently, afterward, when so much was found wrong with the building that much reconstruction had to be performed, the administration paid Jaros – through LiRo — $http://southbuffalonews.com4,500 a month to oversee the work.
The courthouse – which the state originally said could be built for $http://southbuffalonews.com4 million – ended up costing a staggering $46.5 million.
And now that he’s at Clark Patterson Lee, Jaros benefits from a $95,000 a year retainer paid to the firm for part time consulting. Much more than this amount is paid on an hourly basis when the firm actually undertakes a project.
Jaros himself bills the city at the rate of $92 an hour, meaning that if he actually worked 40-hour weeks like a real city engineer, he would be pulling down $http://southbuffalonews.com9http://southbuffalonews.com,360 a year.
While it is uncertain how much Jaros actually makes from his relationship with Dyster and his contract with the city, at least he doesn’t have to worry about being unceremoniously fired by the mayor, as were city engineers Bob Curtis, Ali Marzban, Tom Radomski and Jeffrey Skurka.
Ironically, the $95,000 a year now being paid to Clark Patterson Lee for basically being on call is the same amount Dyster has proposed to pay a full time city engineer, should he find one willing to work for him.
The Clark Patterson Lee contract was automatically renewable for a second year when its first year ended, which was pretty convenient because two years of Jaros on the city payroll perfectly fit the train station’s two-year construction timetable.
Both the courthouse and the train station are overpriced white elephants city taxpayers will be stuck paying for decades into the future. The 72nd Street debacle, where a simple street repaving job turned into a two year nightmare for hundreds of city residents left without running water in the winter, is only now being corrected.