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Dyster Taps Sister-in-law of Campaign Manager for Job

Lisa Vitello
(L-R):Craig Touma, Diane Vitello and Paul Dyster

Lisa Vitello, the sister-in-law of Attorney Craig Touma, the mayor's campaign manager in 2007 and 2011 and a significant campaign contributor, was hired by Mayor Paul Dyster to work in the Billing and Collections Division at City Hall.

Vitello was a teacher at Niagara Catholic Junior High until recently when the school downsized.

Vitello sits on the city's tourism and planning boards and has been an advocate for the removal of the Robert Moses Parkway.

Lisa Vitello's sister, Diane Vitello, Touma's wife, was appointed by Dyster to be city court judge in 2008. Dyster appointed her, as he admitted, without interviewing other candidates for the $130,000-plus-per-year position, after Robert Restaino left the bench.

Dyster was criticized for this appointment by the Niagara Falls Reporter, not because of Vitello's qualifications, but because he campaigned - under the management of Craig Touma, Vitello's husband - on a promise to hire not based on politics, or friendship, but on merit only.

While Dyster said Diane Vitello was the best qualified, the fact that one of his first mayoral appointments - and one of the most desirable - went to the wife of his campaign manager left some wondering.

Craig Touma is also the cousin of council candidate, Andrew Touma, who Dyster endorsed and who was recently the top vote getter in a field of four in the Democratic primary.

When Dyster said he would change the long-standing policy of mayors, did he mean that qualification for being the "best or the brightest" is solely being his supporter and friend?



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

OCT 01, 2013