Question: How the hell did Niagara County Manager Greg Lewis convince the Leg that the county needs to create a Niagara County Department of Homeland Security, with a $75,000-a-year director chosen by the county manager? Does Lewis have a pocket full of magic fairy dust that he throws in the face of legislators to place them under his spell?
Back in January 2006, the Department of Homeland Security stated that Buffalo and Erie and Niagara counties were in jeopardy of being taken off the list of approved areas under the department’s Urban Area Security Initiative, instead placing it on what is called a sustainment list. If NC were to be taken off the list of approved areas, Homeland Security dollars would stop flowing to our area.
While Niagara County currently has a place on the federal list of funded cities, which is a good thing, there's no guarantee that the funding will continue. If nothing else, sunset the position contingent upon the continued flow of dollars to fund the position.
In addition, we currently have the Department of Homeland Security, NY State Police, the Coast Guard. the County Sheriffs Department, with a marine unit, Border Patrol and additional agencies protecting the county. I'm sure they're all breathing a huge sigh of relief now that Niagara County has a Department of Homeland Security.
The NCDHS Department will get a new director and most likely some clerical staff. What's it going to be next year, an additional staff member or two?
Seriously, this is ludicrous. The Leg needs to revisit this issue and seriously consider Lewis' request for this position. Obviously DHS has very specific criteria for spending DHS dollars, so it couldn't be used to reduce taxes. It could, however, be allocated to first responders throughout Niagara County for equipment that would be so vital in the event of a terrorist threat.
Time to take another looks at this one, folks. It simply is not justified.