We haven't heard much out of North Tonawanda lately, but a couple of recent occurrences caught our attention. The first is Soos' choice for the city's plumbing board. On the surface, it would appear that this would be a relatively innocuous issue. But what has some folks in the Lumber City up in arms is the fact that Mayor Larry Soos has gone outside of the city to pick a new board member, going with an Amherst resident.
Resident are expressing their concern over this move based on two issues. The first is obviously the fact that Soos went with someone who is not a resident. Is there not a single person within North Tonawanda that is capable of filling this position? Many NT residents do in fact believe that there are enough qualified individuals to fill the position, at least when it comes to the actual technical knowledge needed to fulfill the responsibilities of the board.
Unfortunately, that is not the only qualification that Soos was looking for. Sources have told us that Soos went with this individual because nobody in NT would play "political" ball with him. Frank Grandinetti, the Amherst resident who now serves on the city's plumbing board, is an old pal of Soos and is more than willing to serve as Soos' political appointee.
As if this mess isn't enough, sources have told Niagara Times that North Tonawanda Democratic Committee Chairman Mark Houghton is getting unemployment while serving as the Market Clerk in NT.
Now, I don't claim to be a lawyer or to even play one on TV, but it was my interpretation of unemployment law that recipients of benefits are not permitted to earn any outside income while collecting those benefits.
We would hope that, should this indeed be the case, someone with the authority to investigate this situation take a look at the benefits Mr. Houghton has received while on the city's payroll.