Articles for Geoff Kelly

Mar 28

2024

Town boards behaving badly

Last week we reported that Cheektowaga’s Republican legislators had blocked routine borrowing to fund road and sewer repairs in the town this summer.  This week they did it again. At Tuesday night’s meeting, the board’s three Democrats tried to get three bond resolutions approved — $2.25 million to repave and repair town roads, $5.5 million to improve drainage on those roadways, and $500,000 for sewer repairs.  The board’s three Republicans voted no and the bond resolutions failed. In a statement Wednesday, Town Supervisor Brian Nowak, a Democrat, said the borrowing was meant to pay for “bridge repair, sewer replacement, a[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Mar 22

2024

Bad politics, bad roads in Cheektowaga

This column was adopted from Investigative Post’s weekly “PoliticalPost” newsletter. Subscribe here and get “Political Post” in your inbox every Wednesday morning. Partisan dysfunction continues on the Cheektowaga Town Board. Last week the board’s Republicans blocked two resolutions authorizing the town to borrow money to pay for annual road and sewer work. The first bond resolution was for up to $2.25 million to repave and repair town roads; the second was for up to $5.5 million to improve drainage on those roadways. Such resolutions used to be routine. They still are in most towns and cities. But Cheektowaga is special this[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Mar 13

2024

Buffalo’s tax auction limbo

Last September Delaware District Council Member Joel Feroleto held up the city’s sale of a house on Amherst Street because he knew the city had acquired the property through a tax foreclosure. He wanted to be sure the children of the former owner, who died, got any surplus funds generated by the sale. Feroleto had reason for concern. In 2019, the Brown administration changed its process for handling the money generated at tax foreclosure auctions so that the city could keep more of the proceeds. As a result, millions of dollars that in the past might have been returned to[...]

Posted 3 months ago

Mar 8

2024

Tricky finances, politics in Cheektowaga

This column was adopted from Investigative Post’s weekly “Political Post” newsletter. Subscribe here and get “Political Post” in your inbox every Wednesday morning. We’ve reported a lot in recent years about the City of Buffalo’s troubled finances.  And most folks reading this have heard about the 11.4 percent tax hike in Amherst, as well as the  attendant uprising, now entering its fourth month.  Cheektowaga has a looming budget problem, too, according to the town supervisor, Brian Nowak, who took office in January after six years as a member of the town board. On Twitter/X this week, Nowak noted that the town’s expenses[...]

Posted 3 months ago

Feb 28

2024

Disgraced former judge returns to the bench

A former Lackawanna judge who resigned in disgrace 11 years ago is getting a second chance at the job, which pays close to $100,000 a year. Lackawanna Mayor Annette Iafallo will appoint Louis Violanti an associate city court judge effective March 1, a spokesman for the city confirmed.  Violanti, 50, held that same post from 2007 until 2013, when he stepped down in the wake of a ticket-fixing scandal.  In December 2012, Violanti promised a friend he’d “take care of” a citation the friend had been given for an expired registration, according to an investigation into the incident by the[...]

Posted 3 months ago

Feb 21

2024

Kearns delivers — literally

The Erie County clerk drove DoorDash for a couple years. The chair of the county legislature sells gift baskets. The county comptroller heads up a local college’s political science department. Side gigs and second incomes abound among Erie County’s elected officials, particularly among legislators, whose jobs are considered part-time — with salaries to match.  Now a commission charged with evaluating how much those elected officials are paid is considering big raises for legislators and four countywide offices: executive, comptroller, clerk and sheriff.  The commission is looking at pay hikes ranging from 23 percent to 52 percent for the countywide offices,[...]

Posted 3 months ago

Feb 12

2024

Political Post: Tax hikes for snowplows

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. This column was adopted from Investigative Post’s weekly “Political Post” newsletter. Subscribe here and get “Political Post” in your inbox every Wednesday morning. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told the Buffalo News editorial board two weeks ago that sending snowplows down side streets in the immediate aftermath of a snowstorm might require a tax hike. Clearing residential streets promptly is a new, boutique service, Brown claimed, never before contemplated in what he called “the standard city snow plan.” “But now, the public is saying, ‘We don’t want that. We want more than that,’” Brown told The News. [...]

Posted 4 months ago

Feb 6

2024

Brown angling for top job at OTB

From left: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, OTB President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek, OTB board member James Wilmot. Mayor Byron Brown, who has pursued at least two jobs outside City Hall in the past six months, has his eyes set on yet another: president and CEO of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., sources tell Investigative Post. And those political insiders say the job’s current occupant, Henry Wojtaszek, is looking for an exit strategy, too.  It’s little wonder that Brown would be interested in the job. Wojtaszek has one of the best-compensated public service posts in the state. The OTB president[...]

Posted 4 months ago
Investigative Post

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