We have been generally impressed by North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt's performance over the course of his first year in office. From his arrival on the scene, he has exuded a certain cool competence that is lacking in some of his "peers" here in Western New York. And his latest major action as mayor, the hiring of a new DPW chief for the Lumber City, just reinforces that appearance of competence.
By all accounts, DPW Director-in-waiting Brad Rowles is a competent guy. He's put in a long career in public works in the Town of Tonawanda, serving since 2003 as that town's highway superintendent. The voters of that community returned him to office twice since then.
We also understand he's got extensive training and schooling in his professional field, a trait second only to real-world experience in value.
Best of all, though, North Tonawanda insiders tell us that, by retiring from his post in the Town of Tonawanda, and coming in at substantially less than his predecessor in North Tonawanda was making before his end-of-year retirement, Rowles (and Ortt) will be saving the taxpayers of NT on the order of $30,000 a year in retirement system contributions and pay.
So, did you get all that? Local candidate...lower salary...lower costs to taxpayers...fully qualified and competent.
Now, let's contrast that with someone, shall we? Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster has had, shall we say, a bumpy road when it comes to hiring department heads.
Actually, we're not alone in saying it. The Niagara Falls Reporter just said it the other day.
With Dyster, the pattern's always the same: launch a "national search" for the "best and brightest." Ignore competent locals. Throw LOTS of money at the person you hire. Fail spectacularly. Pass the costs along to the taxpayers. Launch a new national search a year later...
No, we'll take Ortt's model. It may lack Dyster's breathless delivery, but in the end, it seems to work a lot better.