Niagara Gazette

January 28, 2014

Brochey: Johnson stepping away from Lewiston town job

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

Mike Johnson's tenure in Lewiston town government is coming to an end, at least according to Supervisor Dennis Brochey.

Lewiston's new chief executive said he had a "long talk" with Johnson, the soon-to-be-replaced finance director and budget officer, Monday and the two agreed to a plan to see him step away.

It's part of a plan to help Brochey's choice to succeed Johnson, Paul Kloosterman, get acclimated to the job he begins Feb. 3.

"When Paul feels comfortable in his position and (Johnson) feels comfortable he has a firm grasp on what he needs to know," Brochey said of when Johnson will vacate town hall. "It could take a few months. It's not going to happen overnight."

Finance director and budget manager under former Supervisor Steve Reiter, Johnson was hired by the current town board earlier this month in a controversial move to serve as the town's municipal internal claims auditor. It's a position no other government in Niagara County has on its payroll with the exception of Lewiston-Porter school district.

As auditor, Johnson — who is a real estate broker by trade — was scheduled to receive an annual salary of more than $43,000 plus full-time benefits. By comparison, Lew-Port's internal claims employee works once per month and collects an annual salary of $1,500.

Meanwhile, Kloosterman appears excited to begin his new role. A Niagara University graduate and certified public attorney, the Lewiston resident said he's had no conversations with Johnson yet but is anticipating a quick turnaround.

"We've just got to see how it goes," he said.

For more on the story, see Wednesday's Niagara Gazette.