Niagara Gazette

January 2, 2014

Brochey's light approach will mean serious business in Lewiston

By Timothy Chipp timothy.chipp@niagara-gazette.com
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dennis Brochey knows he’ll need to be serious about Lewiston’s many problems heading into 2014 and beyond.

But the new supervisor took a moment to be jovial after taking his oath of office Wednesday morning, a ceremony officially welcoming him to his new job.

After he joked about making his lips move without sound and expecting applause when it was all over, Brochey said he’s going to be both funny and serious whenever he can.

“It’s something I did for 20-some years as a business owner,” he said of his sense of humor. “If I can go in there with as chipper an attitude as I can, it’ll make it easy for everyone else. Having a sense of humor is part of me. But I’m very serious about this job and its responsibilities.”

Brochey’s first order of business will be to make some appointments for open jobs in town government at tonight’s organization meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at Lewiston Town Hall, 1375 Ridge Road, Lewiston.

There’s just one catch, though. He said he hasn’t made up his mind on who will receive either of the top two openings, the ones that will have the greatest impact on the success of his office. Neither finance director or deputy supervisor have been determined as of Wednesday afternoon, which might result in him asking for an extension.

“I’ve got to make sure it’s the right decision,” he said. “I need to surround myself with the best people I can. It’s like every time I think I’m making a breakthrough and I have a candidate, something makes me anxious.”

One thing he said he is certain of is he’ll carry over the employment of his office’s current confidential secretary, Barbara Cich. He said her experience will be invaluable to his success.

Now that he’s in office, Brochey will need to start addressing some of the issues he’s inherited from the previous administration. He said getting to work on police contract concerns over overtime payments, drainage work and repairs to a particular town building rise to the top of his list for the new year.

Riverwalk Lewiston in particular, a housing development plagued by what many believe to be poor planning and site work when it was first built near Pletcher and Lower River roads, has been discussed at length for months at town board meetings. It’s because those developing a solution to the problem can’t find one that work and plans shift every two months to an entirely new proposal that ends up failing as well.

Now he’ll be responsible for making sure the solution the board agrees to is the best for the town, a responsibility he’ll gladly assume.

“I think we should take care of the longest standing issues first and foremost,” he said. “The Riverwalk people have a standing water problem and I’ll have to get to the bottom of it. The Senior Center needs work inside and out.”

In addition, he said he’s also going bring the town board together with the village board – where he served 18 months as trustee before his election to supervisor – the police department and Artpark to go over options concerning the long-standing issue of police overtime pay.

While Brochey’s new endeavor was certainly the most noteworthy moment of the inauguration event, the most adorable came courtesy of Councilman Alfonso Marra Bax’s 16-month-old son, Samuel. While his father was sworn in, his child waited in the audience. But as Dad stepped to the microphone, he couldn’t wait any longer. So he waddled through the crowd and rushed right up to his father, who picked him up and carried on in his speech.

“It was great,” Bax said afterward. “It’s why I’m doing this. The Town of Lewiston has been home to me. My goal was to keep it a town our children can grow up in and stay and raise a family in. I think we’re on the right track. This town is about family, it’s about community.”

Along with Bax and Brochey, Acting Town Clerk Donna Garfinkel, who assumed responsibility for the office after Carol Brandon retired this past Saturday, was also sworn in. Councilman Michael Marra took his oath of office last week with his mother by his side at Our Lady of Peace nursing home.

Marra, who along with Bax won reelection to the town board in uncontested races, said he thinks Brochey is capable of running the town properly.

“To me, it’s about being responsible stewards of the people’s money,” Marra said. “I think the new supervisor is on that same page. we’ve had some preliminary conversations it’s about running an efficient government.”

Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.