Recently, Lewiston Town Supervisor Fred Newlin and Councilman Sean Edwards attempted to pass a proposal to create a plumbing board and to license plumbers in Lewiston. The proposed board would administer a test for plumbers working on new buildings and, once passed, would be added to a list of approved town plumbers. A multitude of builders and contractors showed-up at a town board hearing to voice their opposition, and the town board decided to put the idea on hold.
This action begs the question: Why would Newlin and Edwards worry about licensing plumbers in Lewiston, when there are so many other issues to worry about? Also, why did they target only plumbers and not any other trade?
A review of New York State Board of Elections financial statements may hold some answers. Interestingly, three members of the Lewiston town board received $3100 from the Pipefitters & Steamfitters Local 22 Political Action Committee (PAC).
During his 2005 campaign, Edwards received $1400 from this PAC, which incidentally, wasn’t reported to the Board of Elections until 2006. In 2006 and 2007 Newlin received $950 in Pipefitter PAC money, and in 2005 and 2007, Councilman Mike Johnson received $750.
The treasurer for Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 22 PAC is listed as a Michael McNally. Amazingly, the Business Agent for the Pipefitters and Steamfitters Local 22 is none other than Lewiston Town Councilman Sean Edwards, according to their website: www.ualocal22.com.
Did Edwards use his influence to finance his own campaign, as well as that of Newlin and Johnson? Even uglier, did the trio then try to push this "licensed plumber" agenda onto the community? As Ricky Ricardo used to say, "You got some splainin' to do!" In all seriousness, this simply looks bad. With requests for Boards of Inquiry being thrown around quite easily, it certainly appears that this situation needs further review by an outside, independent body.
For more detailed coverage of this story, visit http://www.niagara-gazette.com/archivesearch/local_story_084215435.html.