Safety Committee Approved in North Tonawanda by Common Council

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By: Brendan McDonough
Reporter for North Tonawanda

A new safety committee will now be looking into ways to keep North Tonawanda City Hall a little safer. Members of the Common Council approved the measure this past week at their meeting on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019. 

The initiative comes on the heels of a recent bomb scare that turned out to be a false alarm. On June 25th, 2019, 36-year-old Thomas Payne arrived at City Hall with a van believed to be filled with explosives. Although police did not discover any explosives, they did find two loaded rifles. Alderman At Large Robert Pecoraro put forth the resolution and says now is the time to act.

“I really don’t think us just talking about it and not acting is the right way to move forward,” said Pecoraro.

It is not yet known who would be on the committee but it would be chaired by Pecoraro. He is a retired Air Force colonel and says it will focus on two areas of safety.

“I first want to look at the physical security of City Hall and other municipal buildings,” said Pecoraro. “The second piece of this is looking at the cyber security.”

He says he plans on meeting with the police chief to work out more details and says local residents will be updated on the progress on the committee.

Not everyone on the council was agreement of the committee voicing that more detail is needed.  Others, however, say this is just a first step and it’s too early for the specifics of the group.

“I think to form the committee is a first step,” said Common Council President Eric Zadzilka. “Defining the committee will be based on the chief’s recommendations. Such as who should be on it.”

Working on better access control in and out of City Hall is not something new. Mayor Art Pappas says he has been wanting to make the building safer for years.

“I have made this suggestion as long as two or three years ago that we really should be doing something about additional security of this building. This is an old building where there is easy access in and out. It is very open,” said Pappas.

By vote of three to one the recommendation passed. Alderman Mark Berube was absent from the meeting and Alderman-At-Large Austin Tylec was the only dissenting council member. 

“Throughout history things happened because too many people failed to act and they only talked about it. This is the time for action,” said Pecoraro.


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