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Town of Lewiston reorganizes; parties differ on town attorney appointments

Sat, Jan 9th 2016 09:00 am

Broderick names Town Board liaisons for 2016

By Terry Duffy

Editor-in-Chief

With a newly elected supervisor and two new councilmen, the Town of Lewiston opened 2016 Monday in traditional form: With the reorganization of town affairs.

Leading off the lengthy list of adoptions, appointments and confirmations that night was one for Bill Conrad, a former councilman, who will continue to serve as deputy supervisor. The approval of designated signatories for Broderick, Conrad and Town Budget Officer/Finance Director Martha Blazick followed.

The session started off as routine - until discussion on the selection of town attorneys for 2016 ensued. As new Republican Councilman Bill Geiben offered a resolution calling for the appointments of Brian Seaman and A. Joseph Catalano, new Democrat Councilman Rob Morreale offered an alternative.

"I'd like to have a discussion on this if you don't mind. I had a couple of attorneys approach me with this position in the last week," said Morreale, who told board members he was unaware the topic was going to be addressed Monday. "I think it's an important decision, and I'd like to see the position posted ... take some resumes and see what the qualifications are in this position. We need an attorney with town government experience."

Morreale told the board he felt it wasn't solely a board's decision to merely "appoint someone."

This wasn't the first time a suggestion was made to open a search for an alternate town attorney. Former Supervisor Dennis Brochey, the board's lone Democrat last year, presented a similar option and was rebuffed by the GOP majority.

"I'd like to make a motion for this resolution to be posted," Morreale said. "I think Mr. Seaman can handle for a couple of weeks, a month, any town business that we have, and then see what kind of applicants we get."

Morreale asked for a second.

None would come.

Geiben said that, according to Roberts Rules of Order, approved earlier, a motion for Seaman and Catalano had already been presented.

"We must address that first," Geiben said.

"So the motion would be for Brian Seaman and Joseph Catalano as the attorneys for the town," Broderick said. "We have a second? All in favor?"

The board vote was nearly unanimous - Morreale voted "no."

Seaman then advised the board the town attorney, in fact, is not appointed, but the arrangement is done by contract. A motion was made soon after and approved without further comment for Broderick to sign an executed contract.

The balance of the reorganization session included:

•The setting of the Town Board work sessions and regular meetings for 2016. Work sessions will be held on the second Monday of the month and regular Town Board meetings on the fourth Monday of each month. Both begin at 6 p.m.

The alternate date Town Board October work session, which conflicts with the Columbus holiday, was left unsettled.

Also not finalized was the setting of joint town/village meeting dates for 2016.

"I met with the mayor," Broderick said. "We are going to do quarterly dates."

•First Niagara, KeyBank and M&T were all designated as official town depositories. Also approved were such items as the town holiday schedule, 2016 pay schedule, town physician, town procurement and investment policies and designating the official town paper.

•Broderick informed the board he would solicit requests for proposals to award a contract for town auditor, now held by Brown and Company CPA, and for town grant writer, now held by Bernie Rotella.

"I'm going to ask for a request for proposal for auditor. Being that I just started the other day (Broderick who was sworn into office Saturday) and didn't have time to get into this, we've had the same auditor for quite some time. I want to put out a request for proposal," Broderick said.

Geiben inquired if Brown and Company would continue during this process.

"No," Broderick responded. "This is a request for proposal."

Seaman explained the town had been working with Brown and Company under an annual contact and, while the town could retain him on a temporary basis, he advised against an annual contract.

Blazick likewise advised against an interim auditor.

"Get the RFP out if that's where you want to go," she said.

"We'll be putting an RFP out and Brown could apply, as well," Broderick said. "The state recommends that you change so many years. That's what we're going to do.

"We're also going to do the same for the grant writer," he added.

Both measures went on to be unanimously approved by the board.

•Appointments of members to boards, commissions and committees included the confirmations of elected officials/administrators/employees in a number of town departments, as well as the naming of members in various commissions, boards and committees.

Broderick said he did not yet have the opportunity to review a number of current and perspective members and, as a result, some appointments were tabled, including the Personnel Committee, Signage Committee and the Tower/Wind Energy Committee. Also tabled were vacancies on the Historic Preservation, Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, plus the naming of alternates on select boards.

•Broderick did announce the appointment of Town Board liaisons for 2016: Board of ethics ex officio - Seaman; building inspector - Geiben; Cable Commission - Geiben; CWM Siting Advisory Committee - Councilman Al Bax; town engineer - Geiben; Environmental Commission - Bax; Fire Bureau - Broderick; Highway/Drainage - Bax; Historical Preservation - Morreale; Justice Court Office - Broderick; Lewiston Council on the Arts - Councilwoman Beth Ceretto; Library - Geiben; Lighting Advisory Board - Morreale; and the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce - Broderick.

Also, Modern CAC - Bax; Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee - Ceretto; Personnel Committee - Ceretto; Town/Village Police Liaison - Broderick and Geiben; Planning Board - Morreale; Recreation - Bax; risk manager - Broderick; Sanborn Business and Professional Association - Conrad; Senior Citizens - Ceretto; Signage Committee - Morreale; Tower/Wind Energy Research Committee - Ceretto; Water - Broderick; Water Pollution Control Center - Bax; and Zoning Board of Appeals - Geiben.

•Broderick also named the following: stormwater management officer - WPCC Administrator Jeff Ritter; minority business officer and women's business officer - Town Clerk/Tax Collector Donna Garfinkel; electrical inspector - NY Atlantic; records appeals officer, FOIL - Catalano; TV/police liaison - Broderick; and Bingo inspector - David Sheriff.

•The town reported the CWM Siting Advisory Committee would again carry over with its appointed members. They include: Joseph Leone, Dr. Mark Gallo, Robert DeFrancesco and Amy Witryol. One vacancy still remains on the board.

•Town Environmental Commission members include James Allen, Brock Davey and Jerry Wolfgang.

For more on the Town Board's reorganization actions, visit the town website, www.townoflewiston.us.

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