Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 19, 2013

GOP motion on ex-election chief draws threats from Dems

LOCKPORT —

Top Democrats promised the county legislature's majority caucus payback for its Tuesday passage of a resolution condemning the employment of Nancy Smith as a deputy election commissioner.

The resolution, put up by Republican majority caucus leaders Richard Updegrove and Paul Wojtaszek, puts the legislature on the record opposing "continued employment of (Smith) by the Niagara County Board of Elections, and the consequent qualification for taxpayer-funded lifetime health insurance benefits she will receive."

The resolution was OK'd on an 11-3, straight caucus-line vote, with only Democrats casting the no votes.

Smith, the former Democratic election commissioner, recently traded jobs with her old deputy, Lora Allen, and announced she'll retire from the county's employ on April 15, her 55th birthday.

As a 19-year employee, she'll be able to retire and have the county pay 75 percent of her health insurance tab for the rest of her life, per a county human resources policy that's been in effect since 1998. Retirees with 20 or more years of service get 100 percent county-funded health benefits for life.

Wojtaszek has been objecting to Smith's appointment as a deputy commissioner since it occurred in mid-February. He charges that Smith, whose term of office ended this past December, does not "deserve" retirement benefits, after her politically inspired firing of a board clerk last fall, former North Tonawanda Mayor Lawrence Soos, nearly got the county sued. Further, Wojtaszek charged, Smith "lied" to a legislative subcommittee about the incident.

Allen, who was Smith's deputy for more than 10 years, was appointed to the top elections post in mid-February, on the Niagara County Democratic committee's recommendation. State election law lets the major parties decide who they want as commissioners; the county legislature appoints effectively only rubber-stamps the parties' picks when it appoints commissioners.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
Poll

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results