Whistleblower seeks City Council seat

James Perry

The former director of administrative services for the Niagara Falls Water Board, who gained notoriety for a whistleblower complaint that alleged systemic corruptionπ in the agency’s operations, will run for one of three open City Council seats under the banner of a newly created political party.

James (Jim) Perry said we will look to join the council as an independent of the IMPACT- NIAGARA party.

“A major portion of those elected to office to serve the people of Niagara Falls are not meeting their responsibilities,” Perry said in a prepared statement announcing his candidacy and the creation of the new party. “I am not taking on this challenge because I have a big ego or because I want anything more than to make our city what it should be.”

Perry said his run is inspired by a desire to once again make the Falls a “world class city.”

“Anywhere I have ever gone in the world, when I said I was from Niagara Falls people knew what I was talking about. It is a world class city,” Perry said. “But look around you. Is that what you see? Is there anyone living in this city, that can say, ‘Hey, come look at our city, we’re world class!’”

Perry, is a lifelong resident of Niagara Falls. He attended local schools, graduating from Trott Vocational High School with a vocational diploma in Industrial Electricity.

After graduation, he went into the U.S. Army, serving during the Vietnam and post- Vietnam period with an Honorable Discharge in 1980. After returning to the Falls, Perry went to work for what was then the city water department. He also opened a small business, with a partner, selling it in 1999.

Perry left the city water department to take a position with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, where he was employed for 30 years. While working at Goodyear, Perry attended local colleges and worked his way up to a management position, eventually becoming Goodyear’s human resources manager.

After his retirement in 2015, Perry joined the now Niagara Falls Water Board in 2017 as the Director of Administrative Services. Perry said he returned to work to help the board secure a series of long-stalled agreements with its labor unions.

“The unions and the organization had been deadlocked in contract talks for several years at that point,” Perry said. “Within my first six months (on the job), all unions engaged in contract talks had come to agreements with the Water Board.”

Perry retired from the water board in August 2020, amid controversy over a whistleblower complaint he made that alleged improper hiring practices and wasteful expenditures of water board resources.

He said those concerns are what led him to enter the City Council race.

“The evidence of corruption and incompetence is all around us. All you need do is look,” Perry said. “How much of an impact will the millions of dollars that is due to us from federal aid will actually go into something of substance? Maybe it will go into a few more projects we don’t need. I can no longer sit back and see this city continually destroyed by selfish and greedy people. I hope enough citizens are willing to take a stand with me.”

Perry also said the creation of the IMPACT - NIAGARA party will help further his goal of putting people first.

“This party we have is dedicated to serving the people of our city,” he said. “Our first goal will be to provide an open and honest dialogue to build leadership with integrity. From there we will focus on rebuilding the city’s infrastructure, so all of our families can have a better Niagara Falls than the one left for us.”

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