|Kevin Ormsby, (above) replaces Geri Mondi (below) as the council secretary.
In a normal world, a routine personnel change in the Niagara Falls City Council office would constitute nothing more than a mundane and prosaic bit of minutiae, so unremarkable that it might not even stir the morning crowd down at the Why coffee shop.
But in Mayor Paul Dyster’s City Hall, nothing is routine, goes smoothly or without political stupidity.
When longtime council secretary Geri Mondi recently entered retirement and city hall veteran Kevin Ormsby was named to take over her duties, the ennui was palpable. Who cared? What difference did it make? Why would anyone even waste a single precious second of their life thinking about it?
Enter brain dead moron and low-level nincompoop Frances Petry, who cared enough to write a letter to the editor of the local daily newspaper.
Using words like “outrage,” “hijinks,” “mind-boggling,” “political hack,” “discriminatory,” “illegal slap in the face,” “injustice” and “shocking,” she wrapped up her flaming “equal pay for equal work” diatribe with “the council hire was certainly a discriminatory and probably an illegal move.”
Ormsby’s salary in the new position is $46,000, a figure that’s pretty much considered walking around money in the Dyster administration. Absentee, do-nothing, City Administrator Donna Owens, took a $40,000 pay cut this year, and still pulls down 70 grand.
At $46,000 -- the salary he was also making as Dyster’s public relations manager prior to a recent falling out – Ormsby is on the very low end of a very mysterious city hall pay scale. But the Dyster administration, being what it is, Ormsby was targeted with a vicious, anonymous mailing that made its way across the city while the interview process was playing out for the council secretary job.
A long-time Democrat who has worked on a number of campaigns, including Vince Anello’s mayoral campaign (but I’m trying not to hold that against him), Ormsby at one time chaired the city Democratic Committee.
You have to ask yourself, why the low pay? Why did Dyster eliminate his previous job? And why the heavy-handed abuse by political operatives hiding behind letters to the editor?
In a city with a $50 million courthouse that cost the taxpayers $20 million too much, in a city with a train station project that’s already off the rails, in a city where every project comes in over budget and behind schedule, in a city that can’t figure out how to wisely spend millions in casino cash, and in a city with a city hall pay scale that makes zero sense, the lowly council secretary job and Ormsby have taken the brunt of a gutless political attack.
In her letter, Petry argued that Mondi made only $41,000 in the council secretary job compared to Ormsby’s $46,000. Apparently she saw the word “secretary” in the job description and assumed it had to be limited to answering the phone and filing.
While Petry argued that equal pay for equal work has been violated through Ormsby’s hire, she never mentioned that Ormsby directed an award-winning advertising program through the county tourism office for 21 years as tourism administrator, and she failed to note that he served Dyster for five years preparing press releases, press events, proclamations and much of his correspondence, along with press materials for other city departments.
If you attended a city hall press event, read the mayor’s press releases, read many of his newspaper quotes, or received one of his mayoral proclamations, you were exposed to Ormsby’s work.
Now, the city employee who drew praise for his work through the mayor’s office is publicly vilified. Dyster needs to fire his dirty tricks team and find some folks who know what the hell they’re doing. Sending fake letters to the editor isn’t going to put any of them in office or keep them there if they do indeed manage to bumble in.