Restaino Pushing Collaborative Agenda at Water Board Meeting; Says Cabinet Announcement Delayed

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By: Tony Farina

Niagara Falls Mayor-elect Robert Restaino is making an early start on his plans for a collaborative agenda, appearing at a Water Board meeting on Monday night to urge members to seize opportunities to work with the city on ways to maximize efficiency and control costs where possible, including on any potential staff additions.

“I look forward to exploring opportunities [to work together],” said Restaino who said he is looking to discuss those opportunities with the board and Executive Director Pat Fama in the coming days as he moves to negotiate service agreements with several governmental agencies, saying he is already close to one new agreement.

“We’re close but I can’t announce anything yet,” the mayor-elect told the Reporter after his brief appearance at the Water Board meeting.

Mayor-elect Restaino also said there is a change in plans on announcing his cabinet, something he had hoped to do by the end of this week, but which has now been moved back.

“I had been shooting for the announcement on Friday (December 20),” said Restaino, “but we still have work to do on finalizing the team and we won’t be ready until next week at the earliest,” hinting it could take even longer to finally announce who will be doing what in his administration.

“I have nine of 15 selections,” he added, but he says he’s still working on the rest of the cabinet which will begin with him come January 1 when he takes over city government’s top job from three-term incumbent Paul Dyster.

It is clear that Restaino’s election has generated a great deal of excitement in the city as newly elected City Councilman John Spanbauer told us this week (see story on Spanbauer).

“He told me he is going to have an open-door policy with lawmakers,” said Spanbauer, adding that will be a far different policy than under Dyster.

So Restaino is letting people know, including lawmakers and governmental agencies like the Water Board that he is very serious about hoping to build a collaborative network to help rejuvenate Niagara Falls, stressing the city is the hub of the region and if the city can regenerate itself, the rest of the region will prosper as well.

Restaino was firm but low-key in his brief remarks to the Water Board but there was no mistaking his message about working together.

“I’m hoping we can create opportunities,” he told board, “and work collaboratively for the benefit of all.”

The board seemed ready to come to the table as it deals with its own problems, including funding for a project to monitor sanitary sewer overflows in LaSalle.

Stay tuned as the mayor-elect seems ready to light a fire under agencies within reach, urging them to tighten their belts and come to the table to find areas of agreement that will reduce costs and the burden on taxpayers going forward.

 

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