Restaino and His New Team Take Reigns of Government in Niagara Falls

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Mayor-Elect Robert M. Restaino.


By: Tony Farina

There is every expectation that Robert Restaino and his team will hit the ground running after his  new administration took over the reins of government in Niagara Falls earlier today.

As we reported in last week’s editions, Mayor Restaino expects his cabinet to come to work armed with a playbook on how to make their departments run more effectively and efficiently in the coming days, especially in the first two weeks of his administration.

Some NFL coaches, including New England’s Bill Belichick, have the first series of plays and sometimes even more, scripted before the game, and it appears that’s the kind of thinking that Restaino is employing with his staff.  

That staff includes his brother Anthony who will take over as city administrator after Robert Restaino takes the helm of the ship and wishes smooth sailing to outgoing chief executive Paul Dyster.   Sources say Dyster and Restaino have had a cordial period of adjustment since the November election, cordial not necessarily friendly.  But it is believed the Dyster team cooperated in the transition when necessary.

Also on tap at Wednesday’s City Hall ceremonies will be the swearing in of new Councilmember John Spanbauer and re-elected incumbent Kenny Tompkins, followed by a decision by the city’s five lawmakers on who will take over as council president.

With Spanbauer’s election, Republicans now hold a 3 to 2 advantage on the council, and it is likely that one of the GOP members will take over as leader of the council from Democrat Andy Touma, although nothing is certain as of this writing.

In the running for council chair, according to insiders, are incumbents Tompkins and Chris Voccio, and it is not clear yet how the voting will go.  But the answer should be in before noon on Wednesday, and then the new mayor and council will take over and begin their journey into 2020 and beyond.

As Chris Voccio put it this week, there is reason for optimism for the people of the Cataract City.

“I’m bullish on the future of Niagara Falls,” said Voccio.  “With new leadership, sound policy decisions going forward and a little help from God Almighty, brighter days are ahead.”

The hope is, of course, among all the leadership, is that the new administration will be helped by the city’s share of the revenue-sharing payments that the Seneca Nation has withheld from the state since 2017.  That would be a strong signal that Restaino’s efforts to push his collaboration agenda are paying off as he has been known to be cultivating Seneca leaders about carving a new future and ending the stalemate would be a great start.      

We also expect some early annoucements from Restaino about some other collaborative alliances that he has been cultivating in an effort to help Niagara Falls, the leading player in the future of the region, to regain its strength and help the entire region grow stronger.

We’ll all be watching.


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