Niagara Gazette

January 7, 2014

Undercoffer hired by council as his predecessor's status is debated

By Mark Scheer
Niagara Gazette

The Niagara Falls City Council appointed Ryan Undercoffer as the city council's new confidential secretary during Monday's meeting. 

Undercoffer, who served as vice chair of the Niagara County Democratic Party in 2013, replaces the council's former chief of staff Kevin Ormsby who retired. The appointment was supported by Walker and fellow Democrats Kristen Grandinetti and Andrew Touma. Anderson abstained from the vote. Choolokian voted against Undercoffer's appointment, saying he thought it was a "shame" that Ormsby was "forced" to retire. In casting his vote, Choolokian thanked Ormsby for his service, saying his talents would be missed. 

Upon questioning following the meeting, Walker denied that Ormsby was "forced" to retire, saying in conversations with him before the start of the new year, the council's former chief of staff had indicated to him his intentions to file his retirement paperwork and move on. As for Undercoffer's appointment to the job, Walker said he was selected after he expressed interest in the position and based on his skills and background, which includes a bachelor's degree in political science from the University at Buffalo.

"We really wanted to get somebody in that office that can really enhance that office and help the council do more outreach in the community," Walker said. 

In another matter, the council tabled proposed appointments to the city's planning board, zoning board of appeals and water board. The requests to table were made by Grandinetti who said she wanted more time to review the list of possible candidates for each position before making a decision. Each request to table was granted in separate 4 to 1 votes, with Choolokian voting against each time.