by Terry Duffy
News from the Town of Lewiston finds Steve Reiter has opted to step down as supervisor and from overseeing the town water department. Gary Catlin has assumed both duties.
"I'm still deputy supervisor," Catlin said, noting he would handle both his and the supervisor's duties in the remaining two months of Reiter's term. Dennis Brochey will be sworn-in as supervisor Jan. 1, 2014.
Catlin said the Town Board approved a stipend for him, providing additional compensation for his new roles.
Reiter, a long-time popular figure in the town, leaves office following a tumultuous period. Over the past several months, he was investigated by the FBI and state attorney general's office over alleged improprieties, including unauthorized fuel use and misuse of town vehicles.
Then came unfavorable public reaction to projects under Reiter's supervision, including the town's assuming the financial role in running and maintaining Joseph Davis State Park under an operating agreement with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; questions over Reiter's organizing of a local development corporation; and a recreation center proposal that failed to pass in a public referendum.
Reiter also encountered health issues, including heart bypass surgery this fall. He entered the September primary for town supervisor late. In a surprise move, the Niagara County Republican Committee endorsed his opponent, Ernie Palmer, who wound up winning the primary. Reiter did not run in last week's election.
Reiter continued on as supervisor until this week.
"Steve never told me the reason why (he was stepping down)," Catlin said. "He did take a leave of absence. I don't blame him (on this decision). (But) he never did tell me the exact reason."
Offering words of support for Reiter, Catlin continued, "I do hope Brochey can get along with the board. He needs to realize (as town supervisor) it's a full-time position."
"(And there's) no one there as knowledgeable as Steve Reiter," Catlin said, referring to Reiter's hands-on approach with all town departments, which came from his years of experience. Reiter served as a highway department employee and highway superintendent before being elected town supervisor.
"He will be missed," Catlin said.
In other news, the Town Board met Tuesday to review the revised 2014 budget numbers. Catlin said the town's budget still had not been finalized.
"There's still some twinking from department heads," he said.
The Town Board announced it would meet again Monday, Nov. 18, at 2:45 p.m. to further fine-tune the budget as it moves toward adoption. The budget is due to be filed with the state by Nov. 20.
See Saturday's Sentinel for further details.