Niagara Gazette

January 2, 2014

Brochey brings changes to Lewiston town government

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — When voters elected Dennis Brochey its next supervisor this past November, the message they delivered was to change town government.

Together with his four Lewiston councilmen, he delivered a number of minor and moderate shakeups to the town's operations during Thursday's reorganization meeting. Gone is consulting attorney Michael Dowd and engineer Ryan Smith and his firm, Nussbaumer and Clarke.

His goal through these changes is to be more transparent and to cut down on personnel spending so the town can address some pressing issues in other areas.

"I want to cut down on some of these unnecessary expenditures so we have enough money to fix the senior center," he said after the meeting. "The board is looking into possibly hiring a part-time, in-house engineer right now. We have an interview scheduled, we just need to find out if he's qualified in what we'd need."

In the interim, Conestoga Rovers and Associates will serve as engineer, Brochey said. Its job will be to provide any assistance in an emergency situation, he added.

Mark Davis was retained as town attorney, a position he held even with Dowd, who serves as Porter's attorney, around.

Those personnel moves weren't the only big shakeups Brochey announced Thursday. After nearly two months of interviews, surgery recovery, some hemming and hawing and holiday distractions, he announced his choices for his appointments to serve two critical positions under him.

Former Councilman Sean Edwards will serve as deputy supervisor — who would serve as leader in the town should Brochey be absent or unable to perform his duties for any reason — beginning immediately, while certified public accountant Paul Kloosterman is the new finance director.

Kloosterman's start date was yet to be determined by the Gazette's deadline.

Edwards, who served one four-year term on the town board before declining to run for reelection in 2009, said the choice was not politically driven.

"Dennis showed up on my doorstep," he said. "I met him at my door."

As for finance director, the match between Brochey and Kloosterman appears to be mutually beneficial, at least at first glance. The new supervisor said Kloosterman's youthful energy would go a long way toward securing the position for a long time, while the CPA, who's been certified for three years after graduating from Niagara University, said Brochey's attempting to do something he's willing to sign up for.

"Dennis is trying to do a lot of great things for the town," he said. "I'd like to be a part of it."

It won't be an easy transition, though, so the board approved a measure to keep former finance director Michael Johnson employed as its internal claims auditor in an attempt to ease the department's transition.

But once everything is straightened out, Brochey said he's hopeful.

"I know there's going to be a transition period," he said. "So we needed to have a little extra support. But we're going to do whatever it takes to get the right people in these positions."

One other change not involving personnel coming from Thursday's meeting will see a time change for all town board meetings and work sessions. The new start will see 6:30 p.m. meeting times, a half-hour later than in 2013. Meeting days remain the same, set at the second and fourth Mondays of each month except when a holiday conflicts with the regular schedule.

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