RESTAINO: Stronger Working Together

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By: Robert M. Restaino

Candidate for Mayor of Niagara Falls

In recent years we have all watched as government officials, at every level of government, fail to collaborate with one another because of political affiliations or vendettas.  Niagara Falls has seen its share of City Hall officials that fail to work with governmental partners and neighboring towns to the detriment of city taxpayers. For too long we have seen city officials ignore opportunities to collaborate with other levels of government because of petty political differences involving elected officials and/or department heads or because of City Hall’s desire to maintain control over a project from start to finish. For too long now Niagara Falls has cut itself off from the rest of the county and City Hall has placed the burden on all of us to support its antiquated view of how local government should function. For decades Niagara Falls has separated itself from its neighbors either unable or unwilling to cooperate in projects because of political bickering and now pushing the city to the brink of fiscal disaster.  As your mayor I can assure you that this petty political nonsense will not interfere with decisions our city will need to bring back fiscal stability.

We live in an extremely competitive economic environment and it is terribly short sighted to neglect opportunities to maximize our resources through collaborative engagement with Niagara County, the Niagara Falls School District, the Niagara Falls Housing Authority, the Niagara Falls Water Board and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.  Earlier in 2018, a fellow member of the Niagara Falls School Board asked that we convene a joint session of the School Board and the City Council to discuss the issues of mutual importance to both. At that meeting I requested our administrative staff, under the direction of our School Superintendent, to work with their respective counterparts in City Hall to find areas where we could work together in service delivery to city taxpayers and I requested monthly updates on our progress. Unfortunately, to date no progress has been made, despite the fact that school district personnel have presented possible alternatives. Also while the school district has provided funding for additional safety officers to be stationed in our schools, adding to the level of city law enforcement, that isn’t a cost saving cooperative government project but rather a purchase of services by one city government entity from another. With a bit of ingenuity and trust we can make changes to the way we deliver services in our city while helping to avoid duplication of effort and expense.

Regions that are expanding and developing have learned the lesson that working together we can achieve more than simply “going it alone”. By advancing opportunities to work collaboratively with these governmental agencies, we can provide cost effective government.  Working with our neighboring communities we can establish meaningful opportunities for development and job creation for the greater Niagara Falls region. By cooperating with our neighboring localities and governmental partners Niagara Falls can lead the growth of Western Niagara County.  To achieve this goal we will need to commit ourselves to rejecting the old days of political division and recognize that there isn’t a Republican answer or a Democrat answer, there is only the right answer for Niagara Falls.

This will require a mayor who can put the partisanship “on the shelf” for the benefit of the residents of Niagara Falls, a mayor that has proven a willingness to work with and for all individuals regardless of political party. In my private practice and public service I have measured my commitment not by political affiliation of the person or group but rather by what is right or by the good that it will bring to the community. I can assure you as the mayor of Niagara Falls I will continue to assess efforts to improve our community on those same terms and work toward bringing growth and prosperity to our City. So many of the challenges the city faces today, are a product of government that elevates politics over progress. In order to bring the change we need it’s important to focus on a better way to govern.  Working together with our neighboring communities and government partners we can set a new course for Niagara Falls, I know that I am committed to that task and ready to bring a brighter future to our city.   

 

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