If you're not familiar with the name Mark Houghton, don't be overly concerned. After all, he hasn't done anything memorable as the Chairman of the North Tonawanda Democratic committee. In fact, it was under his watch that the Republicans in NT swept every single office in the November elections. Not exactly something that he would want to repeatedly reflect upon. Obviously his close working relationship with county Dem Chairman Dan Rivera, hardly known for his ability to win local elections, was reflected in the Republicans unprecedented achievement in November.
Houghton did manage to find his way into the news after newly elected North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt appointed John Long to the position of city market clerk, a $6,000 part-time job running the city market, which was previously held by Houghton. Unhappy that Ortt had appointed Long, even though Ortt had told Houghton that he could apply just like anyone else who might be interested in the position, Houghton has threatened the city with a federal civil rights lawsuit over his termination. For a $6,000 a year part-time job.
Really it's not surprising. The Dems in North Tonawanda and Niagara County have had an extremely rough go of it lately. With 15 of 19 county legislators, nearly every town supervisor, two of three mayors being Republican, coupled with landslide victories in Lewiston & North Tonawanda, the Democrats are scurrying for any chance to stay relevant. Under Rivera's leadership, the party has become virtually extinct in Niagara County. So if the opportunity to protect a member of their party's faithful presents itself, Democratic leaders in the county will do their best to ensure that this person is taken care of.
Re-enter Mark Houghton. Odds are that we're not going to hear much about Houghton's lawsuit threat any longer. Party leaders have taken care of Houghton.
In a story that you won't read anywhere else (yes, that is an indictment of the local media), Niagara Times has learned that Houghton was hired about three weeks ago to a position in the Building & Grounds Department of....you guessed it, the New York Power Authority. Considering that his position at the Niagara Power Project pays him just about $50,000 a year, we think it's pretty safe to assume that Houghton won't be pursuing that lawsuit to get his $6,000 job back.
Once again, we have Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, the top Dem in the county, using the Lewiston hydroelectric facility as her personal employment agency. Is it any wonder that she has refused to condemn the multitude of horrendous actions taken by NYPA against our community? Remember, she voted to relieve the Power Authority of their obligation to fund state parks in our community, and she supported the sweep of $550 million in NYPA revenues from our community. She would not dare question the actions of the one organization that she knows she can always rely on to bury one of her moles into without much fanfare.
I suppose the one positive from this is that North Tonawanda won't have to come up with the money that would have been needed to defend Houghton's ludicrous lawsuit. Of course, the downside is that the taxpayers of Niagara County now need to come up with another $50k to take care of DelMonte's latest lapdog. Just wonderful.