Kiyak makes committee changes

They will still have the same names, but a change in the makeup of its committees signals Common Council’s effort to keep itself informed about all facets of city operations will continue. The Department of Public Works is one of the operations that can expect more interest from its corresponding council committee the next two years.

Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak has appointed Fourth Ward Councilwoman Stacy Szukala as chair of the Public Works, Streets, Sidewalks, Public Utilities, Parks, Harbor Buildings and Transportation Committee. Kiyak has added herself to the committee, replacing First Ward Councilman Michael Michalski. Third Ward Councilman Adelino Gonzalez chaired the committee the last two years and will remain on it.

The Finance Committee will still have Michalski as chair and Kiyak as one member, while Gonzalez will replace Szukala. The Personnel, Judicial & General Welfare, Recreation, Library and Regional Planning Committee will have Gonzalez replace Second Ward Councilman William J. Rivera as chair. Rivera will remain on the committee and be joined by Michalski. Kiyak will no longer be on this committee. Joining new chair Rivera on the Public Safety, Fire, Police, Emergency Committee will be Szukala and Michalski. Kiyak will remain as chair of Economic Development with Rivera returning as a member. The two will be joined by Szukala, who replaces Gonzalez.

Szukala will remain as council’s representative to the Dunkirk Free Library’s board of directors. Kiyak will be council’s ex-officio member to the Dunkirk Local Development Corporation, with Gonzalez also on the board.

Kiyak was asked about the new lineup.

“I’m making the changes based on strength, and also a couple of changes as far as who sits on each one, so there’s a little bit different opinion. It seems as if we attend each other’s meetings regularly, so I almost don’t feel it’s limited to just the committee members,” she replied. “I think that’s important that we do attend each other’s meetings so we do have input, whether we’re on the committee or not.”

Kiyak said she checked with council members before making the changes and had no complaints. She said making Szukala the Public Works Committee chair was done for a reason.

“I think she follows up and I think that public works is an important committee to have a meeting at least once a month and that wasn’t always the case, being under Andy,” Kiyak added. “I thought that that committee needed to meet more often than it did and Stacy agreed to be the chair and that she would put forth that effort. “I left Mike as the finance guy, with the private sector in banking it made sense. With me on the economic committee, it insures we meet once a month. It’s not stipulated in the charter, outside of the finance committee, how often it must meet.”

That lack of City Charter direction bothers Kiyak.

“I’ve had a bone of contention with that. I think that it’s our obligation to meet at least once a month to make sure we’re touching base with department heads,” she stated. “Because it’s not mandated you can’t force council members to hold those meetings. … I tried to figure out as much as possible to make sure all those committees would be represented to the best of our abilities within the scope of how everyone seemed to work the past two years.”

For her part, Szukala said staying on the Public Safety Committee was important to her, but she was looking forward to chairing the Public Works Committee.

“We’re going to be looking at enforcing some of the policies and procedures we have for the bidding process. I’m going to invite (DPW Engineer Randy Woodbury), who took over for Dave Manzella, to find out what he’s working on for the year. He had quite a big list on his desk when he came in,” she added. “One of those things is the train whistles that we have to apply for every couple of years for quiet zones. Bidding process for all the chemicals for the water and wastewater, how all that goes. Just making sure that we’re kept up to date. The more meetings you have the more informed you are.”

Szukala added she was looking at holding monthly meetings to keep up with the bidding process and large projects.

“Maybe there will be a time when we really don’t need to, but I think a lot of the requests that we get through council are DPW, so I’m hoping to have not only (DPW Director) Tony Gugino, but also (Streets Supervisor) Mike Porpiglia attend as much as possible,” she said. “We’ll have to work out a schedule that hopefully works for everybody.”

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