Something ‘Rotten’ in Job-Shuffling for Mayoral Hopeful Seth Piccirillo

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Dyster seeks to ‘illegally’ create job for his protégé so he can legally run for mayor.


By: Frank Parlato

At a meeting of the Municipal Civil Service Commission on Sept. 20, something odd happened. There were some 26 items on the agenda – most of them about specifications for various civil service jobs and who was chosen to fill them.

But there were two jobs – new ones it seems  – to be created – that caught our attention.

The jobs were listed under “proposed new job specifications” – for two jobs – a “Community Development Manager” and a “Director of Code Enforcement and Civil Construction.”

It was curious that the new job specifications for these new jobs were slated for discussion and possible approval when suddenly the job of “Director of Code Enforcement and Civil Construction” was pulled from the agenda.

It happened just days after Councilmember Kenny Tompkins questioned why the job specifications for the position had no requirements.

Anyone, Tompkins pointed out, could be appointed to the position – even if he had no knowledge of construction or building codes.  It could be the waiter at the Red Coach Inn. Or a night clerk at the Double Tree.

It soon became evident why there were no qualifications.  Mayor Paul Dyster had already decided who was going to get the job – Seth Piccirillo – and he has no qualifications – no experience in construction or building codes.  He is not licensed by the state – like every other person who heads the building department in years gone by.

Piccirillo has never operated a private construction company, as far as anyone knows; has no real life experience in construction, [he never built any houses – although under his supervision one house did collapse]. He has no civil engineering degree – something you might expect as a job qualification specification for the new position of Director of Code Enforcement and Civic Construction – a job that will probably cost taxpayers more than $100,000 per year.

But qualifications are not necessary it seems to Dyster because he wants Piccirillo to have the job and the reason is pretty obvious.

Piccirillo has said he is planning to run for mayor. He is presently the Director of Community Development.  But since Seth wants to run for mayor next year, legally he can’t in his present position. Seth cannot legally run for mayor and remain as head of Community Development – because that department uses federal  [HUD] money.

It is a violation of the Hatch Act for a government official who controls federal money to run for municipal office.  In other words, in his present position, Seth cannot run for mayor.

So Dyster hopes to create a brand new job for Seth – one for which he is likely unqualified – if the job means anything like its name sounds – Director of Code Enforcement and Civil Construction.

Of course, Dyster did not care to mention to the Civil Service Commission that he already decided who is going to get the new job he wants to create. Just the opposite, if one were to listen to Dyster – the job will be given to the most qualified person [even though there are no qualifications needed.]

This is all well and good but probably you are wondering – if Seth were to get the new job of Director of Code Enforcement and Civil Construction – who is going to replace Seth as Director of Community Development?

That one is easy. Dyster is creating a second job – a brand new position called “Community Development Manager”. The person who gets the new job will technically control the federal money – so Seth – who will likely still oversee the department – will not technically control federal money.

It is my guess that Dyster will appoint someone to take the newly created job of Community Development Manager who is not going to be running for mayor, someone perhaps who can help Seth during his campaign for mayor.

This creation of jobs – which will cost taxpayers probably more than $200,000 per year in salaries and benefits – is being created 100 percent to circumvent the Hatch Act – so that Seth can run for mayor.

These jobs were not needed in the past. For the efficient governance of the city, they are not needed now. They are being created because Seth needs it, not the public.

In this respect, this may be a criminal conspiracy and the FBI ought to investigate.

It is also a lousy thing to do – for the mayor to be adding to the expenses already paid by the taxpayers in order to pave the way for Seth to run for mayor – just at the same time Dyster reportedly plans to raise taxes, impose a garbage user fee, and cut police and fire services in the city.

He is doing all this [along with a likely reassessment] to try to make up for his years of wasteful spending, combined with a stupendous lack of oversight when the Seneca Compact was renewed with the Governor without requiring the Seneca’s pay anything to the city.

Dyster’s handpicked successor, Seth Piccirillo, needs a new job so he can carry on the Dyster tradition.

Now that we have exposed this plan, perhaps Seth won’t get this new made-up job, perhaps because the authorities will look into it, or the public will raise an outcry.

More importantly – if Seth can find another way to circumvent the Hatch Act,  will the voters lift him into his true desired position – as mayor of Niagara Falls.

The voters might want to question whether they want a man who offers four more years of the same. A man who can’t legally run for office in his present position, so he and Dyster conspired to create a brand new one; to circumvent the law.

Let’s see if they get away with it.

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