Tonawanda News

August 28, 2013

LETTER: Experience counts in municipal elections

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — With primary elections soon to be upon us, I feel I need to share a few points before our candidates move on into the November election.

Recently, I read on Facebook that a person who was being encouraged to vote for someone’s “favorite son” was holding back on a decision until she could research the candidate and assimilate some actual facts. Kudos to that person! Favoritism should hold no place in an election. 

I don’t particularly care which political party is in office but I do want the most qualified people running our city government. Therefore, one of my biggest complaints is the fact that the current crop of new candidates has never, or certainly not in the recent past, been to a council meeting. I know because I am there almost all the time. Do they expect the council to put down the business at hand and take the time to bring them up to date on all the pressing matters that require intelligent voting? Not a good use of their time or my vote. Frankly, it makes me wonder a couple of things. Who put these folks up to running and just what is their real agenda?

A perfect example of this point is the race between the current city attorney, Sean Nickerson and Joshua Dubbs. While Mr. Dubbs may have a brilliant future down the road, I think an experienced attorney is a wiser choice for our city since many of his dealings impact the use of my tax dollar. A man of Mr. Dubbs’ youth can’t have much experience in the multitude of areas required of a city attorney. I also understand that Mr. Dubbs has no experience in government or municipal law. He should cut his teeth on something less critical. Mr. Nickerson deals on a regular basis with areas that include defending the city in any lawsuits, drafting legislation, negotiating agreements on behalf of the city, traffic violations, zoning and planning, freedom of information requests, real property issues, civil service, reviewing bids and contracts for services, grievances, advising department heads and boards, rendering legal opinions, penal law violations, and on and on. This kind of expertise has taken many, many years to perfect and I think, as the saying goes, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”.

Looking at the rest of the new candidates being considered, I don’t see much experience behind any of them. Perhaps this is not the most prudent time to jump ship just for the sake of jumping. If you’re going to jump ship, you better know how to swim!

Ann Finkle

North Tonawanda