City officials called out for missing meeting
What if you held a meeting and most of the people you thought were coming didn’t show?
That was the case for Third Ward Councilman Adelino Gonzalez, the new chairman of Dunkirk Common Council’s Personnel, Judicial & General Welfare, Recreation, Library and Regional Planning Committee.
Gonzalez set the meeting for 3 p.m. Monday, announcing it at a regular council meeting Feb. 4. Not only were almost all of the department heads Gonzalez expected to attend not present, the other two councilmen on the committee, Michael Michalski and William J. Rivera, were unable to attend due to their private-sector work requirements.
A conference call connected Michalski, but Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak, who was present, pointed out that did not meet attendance requirements. At that point, city attorney Ron Szot offered a meeting could be held but no action could be taken.
Gonzalez’s list of people he expected to attend included Personnel Administrator Roger Heyden, Director of Public Works Tony Gugino, Housing, Building and Zoning Officer Alan Zurawski, Police Chief David Ortolano, Fire Chief Keith Ahlstrom, Planning and Development Director Steve Neratko and Animal Control Officer Steve Purol. Gonzalez noted none was present.
“Why? I don’t know because they all get the information and they were all at the regular meeting last Tuesday and they were informed of the meeting today, so I guess they work on their own,” Gonzalez stated. “So I think that I will address that with the mayor as soon as I get a chance, because they are supposed to be here. We shouldn’t have to send letters to each of them as to when they are supposed to be here.
“They’re paid officials that know when these meetings are going on. How can we be able to address the city and let them know what’s going on if they’re not here to inform on each of their departments?”
Recreation Program Coordinator Tim Gornikiewicz did attend and talked about the city’s three-month recreation center that the city rents space for at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds.
According to Gornikiewicz’s figures, the city has taken in $4,085 as of Feb. 9, and has $2,918 in known expenses as of Feb. 10.
Expenses included five employees that have totaled 289.75 hours at a cost of $2,318, or $8 per hour. The city will pay a total of $600 in rent while utility bills have yet to be received from the Association, which pays the bills and then gets reimbursed by the city.
Kiyak suggested keeping the reports confined to a monthly basis and provide more information on users of the facility.
“In the future report can you actually indicate how many people are involved with these fees so that we have an idea if there’s more people in soccer or people in walking. How many parties? … If you could further break that down … just so we get an idea next year when we’re making comparisons of what works, what doesn’t work,” she said, adding she didn’t want each day, just “what is that comprised of? Dodgeball? How many people are playing?”
The weather had hurt attendance a bit, according to Gornikiewicz. He added the rec center is closed when schools are closed due to weather.
Gonzalez wanted to know about the $40 collected for zumba fees. Gornikiewicz explained that it was a group rental for Feb. 22 that was paid ahead of time and included in the report.
“The people are renting the facility for $40, we’re not putting on zumba,” Szot interjected.
“I know, but $40 a month?” Gonzalez asked.
It was explained again that the $40 was for one session. “All the instructors are getting together, it’s for a charity … they wanted a little bigger place for it,” Gornikiewicz said.
Before closing the meeting Gonzalez had more to say about the lack of attendance.
“I will send emails personally to the different departments I have listed here,” he said. “I guess we have to baby them and send them a letter because they’re not here, but it shouldn’t be that way. … Hopefully, at the next meeting we can get some people here, get some more reports and address some of the issues that are asked of us out in the city.”
Gonzalez scheduled the next committee meeting for March 17 at 3 p.m.
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