Tonawanda News

January 10, 2013

Tonawanda council rescinds travel approval resolution

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — A controversial resolution passed by the City of Tonawanda council was rescinded in a 4-1 vote Tuesday night. 

The resolution, which would have required employees’ travel requests to be approved by the council, was initially passed at a Nov. 20 meeting, in the absence of Mayor Ron Pilozzi. 

The resolution was proposed by Councilman Richard Slisz and states the council must approve “specifics regarding their proposed travel, including length of time, location of training and cost of same.”

Following the Nov. 20 meeting, Pilozzi vetoed the measure, arguing the duty was an executive one per the city charter. 

“The council is a legislative body,” Pilozzi explained Wednesday. “The day-to-day operations are strictly the mayor’s responsibility.” 

Then, at the Dec. 18 meeting, the council voted to override Pilozzi’s veto in a 4-1 vote after a heated work session in which Slisz said the mayor was acting “irresponsibly” and approving too many “useless” requests.

Council President Carleton Zeisz was the only dissenter in the veto

override.

Pilozzi argued Slisz didn’t do his homework after he cited “unreasonable” travel for the building inspector, which was in fact compensation for mileage for his day-to-day job. 

The rescinding of the resolution was put on Tuesday’s agenda per Councilwoman Heather Little’s request, who said she didn’t fully understand the ramifications of the measure. The motion to rescind the resolution passed in a 4-1 vote Tuesday, with Slisz voting nay.

But Slisz said he plans on sponsoring a new resolution that would require the mayor to provide the council with information about travel requests.

“My goal was to get some information and see what the costs are and where people are going,” Slisz said. “The mayor does have the right to approve by the executive charter. I just want some advance information ... not necessarily to have the council approve everything.”

Slisz said he will present the new resolution at a meeting in the next few weeks. 

The council also approved a traffic study Tuesday to take place on Young Street near Smoke on the Water. 

“Basically what we are going to do is bag that light near there in front and put a barricade there so that you can’t use that lane of traffic,” Pilozzi said. “It will be temporarily and assess how it affects traffic

patterns.”

After the study, the council will decide whether the city will license the area to Smoke on the Water owners for parking purposes, as the restaurant only has a handful of spots and many patrons use other business’ property. 

There has been no recent news of progress on the contract deal with Natale for the Little League Drive development, but Laurence Rubin, the lawyer representing the city, said he hopes to present a contract to the council by the end of the month.

“It may be sooner than the end of the month,” Rubin said. “We have been going back and forth on the details. It is slow but steady progress.” 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150