By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette — Multiple sources within Lewiston Town government have confirmed Supervisor Steve Reiter will be out of commission at least temporarily due to what is believed to be heart surgery he will reportedly undergo this morning.
Deputy Supervisor Gary Catlin said the procedure is not expected to keep Reiter, who was reportedly admitted to Buffalo General Hospital Tuesday for the procedure, out of office long, saying the supervisor told him he expects to conduct town business at the board's next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, July 22 at Town Hall, 1375 Ridge Road, Lewiston.
"The plan right now is for him to be at the next town meeting," Catlin said. "He told me he plans on controlling it. In the meantime, I have authority to take care of whatever signatures need to be done. But I expect to see him back within a week to two."
Reiter, whose supervisor position is up for election this November, had yet to confirm or deny his plans for the upcoming election before being informed the procedure would be necessary.
The Lewiston Republican Party stopped circulating petitions with Reiter's name following a recent visit to town hall by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and New York State Attorney General's Office representatives pertaining to a 2011 audit by the state Comptroller's Office questioning gasoline usage tracking and drainage work performed by the town's highway department under Reiter's control.
Reiter has served as supervisor since January 2011.
Nominating petitions for the town's primary election are due to Niagara County Board of Elections Wednesday, which puts the Lewiston Republican Party in a time crunch, according to Councilman Ernest Palmer.
Palmer's name has been circulated as a possible candidate for the town's chief executive position prior to Reiter's absence. But he would not confirm his presence in the race, which already includes two possible Democrat challengers. Lewiston finance manager Mike Johnson said he is still trying to fill petitions, while Village Trustee Dennis Brochey has already announced his intentions.
"I want to see what happens with Steve first before proceeding," Palmer said. "I don't know what his mindset is. I haven't talked to Steve at all. I don't know how serious his procedure might be ... so it's tough to speculate right now."
A representative from Reiter's campaign and Lewiston Republican Chairman Bob Ciszewski were unable to return requests for comment before print deadline Thursday.
Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.