Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

January 27, 2014

Lewiston board's hiring for newly created position raises questions

Niagara Gazette — Following an appointment made by Lewiston Supervisor Dennis Brochey to fill the town’s budget officer position at the town’s Jan. 2 reorganization meeting, the five-member town board went off-script. It’s left a bad taste in the mouths of some of the town’s Democrats.

Republican Councilman Michael Marra made a motion to hire former budget officer Michael Johnson, a Democrat who challenged Brochey to a primary election this past September, as the town’s new municipal internal claims auditor. It was quickly seconded by the board and a 5-0 vote was cast.

Brochey, who voted in favor of the appointment, and his supporters raised a stink shortly after adjourning the meeting with claims ranging from an illegal motion to being lied to by the Republican majority this past November.

“I was new, I was nervous,” Brochey said about voting in favor of hiring Johnson. “It’s a little difficult right now. But at the time, I felt like I didn’t get the transparency from the rest of the board I deserve.”

At the time, Brochey said he approved the hiring because having Johnson in town hall allowed his pick for budget officer, certified public accountant Paul Kloosterman, the ability to transition into his new position.

While the supervisor said Johnson’s presence could help, his supporters were far less compromising. Dating back to statements made following the town’s 2014 budget adoption this past November, there’s a lot of vitriol as the Johnson hiring represents a slap in the face to those who elected a change in political party to the town’s executive branch.

At the Nov. 25 meeting, former board member Paulette Glasgow, a Brochey supporter, aired a laundry list of concerns she had about the new position. She questioned the usefulness of such a position, the future plans for its filling and why the board was secretive in doing it.

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