Dyster veto stops Tompkins’ council health insurance cost saving measure

 

 

Niagara Falls – It didn’t take long for freshman councilman Kenny Tompkins to get a close up look at Mayor Paul Dyster’s veto pen. And from what we’re told Mr. Tompkins is not pleased at seeing the mayor – with a stroke of his seldom seen veto pen – strike down the councilman’s resolution, a resolution ending the health insurance benefit for all future members of the city council.

Tompkins’ resolution ending the taxpayer paid health care had been passed in a 3-2 vote at a council meeting two weeks ago. Tompkins, Chairman Andrew Touma and council member Kristen Grandinetti supported the resolution, while Council members Charles Walker and Ezra Scott opposed passage.

A super majority of four votes is now needed to defeat the Dyster veto. That super veto looks highly unlikely.

There’s no reason to believe that Walker and Scott have changed their minds and if past proves precedent we’d be surprised to see the blindly loyal Kristen Grandinetti forsake her mayor to join Touma and Tompkins in a veto override attempt. That means the 3-2 vote that passed the resolution will likely flip 2-3 as the resolution dies.

Sources that spoke to us for this exclusive story have told us that Mayor Dyster put his veto pen to paper in the belief that he was doing the right thing in keeping future council members eligible for taxpayer paid health insurance – which costs the city $17,000 for a family plan. The part time council members are paid $12,000 annually.

Yes, we are told, that the mayor who has repeatedly banged the gong of “the cost of health insurance is the real reason why my budget is deeply in deficit” is now saying that “we need to offer the health insurance in order to attract good council candidates.”

Never mind that the council positions are elected and are not civil service or contractual employees. Never mind that the council members are part time employees and that all other part time positions in city government are never provided with health insurance. Never mind that there’s absolutely no way the mayor can justify his veto on any logical or common sense ground.

With a simple stroke of his pen Mayor Dyster has stopped the first legitimate cost saving measure ever taken, much less even suggested, by a council member in recent memory.

Tompkins’ reasoning behind the sponsoring of the resolution, he said, was “I don’t think part time elected officials should get full time benefits. In the private sector for most full time positions the employers don’t pay health insurance.”

Touma is said to support Tompkins initiative and is said to be trying to persuade Walker or Scott to flip.

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Recently Tompkins challenged the mayor on an unrelated comment.

The mayor, in arguing before the council that he needed a raft of change orders – increases over and above the regular contract a contractor has with the city, said that change orders are 50 – 50. That is they benefit the contractor half the time and benefit the city half the time.

Tompkins who is familiar with the contracting field scoffed at the idea as if the mayor was being disingenuous.

Tompkins said “Change orders benefit the contractor almost all the time. Some contractors make their profits through change orders.”

 

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Kenny Tompkins found out how hard it is to make any cuts in the spendthrift Dyster administration.

 


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