Lots of Blame to Go Around for Lewiston Mess
Guest View By Veronica Day
When things go as wrong such as they did in Lewiston, there is usually plenty of blame to go around. This entire embarrassing mess is not just the fault of one guy, even if he is the main villain here. No doubt Steve Reiter should take the majority of the heat. Stealing pennies and nickels and robbing gas at the risk of ruining your career isn't only a mark of being dishonest and greedy, it's just plain stupid. It is likely no one will ever know how long Reiter had been robbing the residents or how much he actually got away with. One thing for sure is he can't rob us anymore.
Although Reiter owns the main blame here, he isn't the only one responsible.
I read the September 2011 comptroller's audit of the Town of Lewiston over and over. Issued over two and a half years ago, the audit should have been a loud wakeup call to both the Town Board and the public. While it is Reiter's fault for breaking every rule and for being a liar and a crook, others share the blame, too.
How the heck did the Town Board miss what was going on right under their noses? Didn't anybody stop to question Steve's shabby excuses? I asked a friend in law enforcement why the state didn't do more. He replied that the Comptroller's Office doesn't arrest people. It just checks on how towns and cities are using our tax dollars to find out where the fraud and waste are. They expect it is the job of honest and decent town governments to fix the problems they discover, and proper law enforcement people to deal with the crooks.
I don't think anyone on that Board could look an honest man in the face and say he or she had no idea Reiter was taking gas, nor offer a justifiable excuse for why they did not do a single thing to stop him. Therefore, the Town Board should take some of the heat for this too. Even after all that has happened they still seem caught up in the" good ole boy Steve Reiter haze" that got them in trouble to begin with.
I bet if it was their own money he was carting off from those gas pumps every week, the Board would have seen right through his flimsy excuses and fired him in a minute.
Honestly, I have to take a bit of the blame here, myself. I saw the newspapers and read the letters, but I didn't get involved. I should have gone to a meeting, asked some questions, and demanded some answers. But I didn't.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
Feb 25, 2014