After six months, city residents have heard enough about the ways of the past leaders. Dunkirk's administration - and elected officials - must move forward.
And, most of that moving ahead right now, means fixing whatever is wrong with the Community Block Development Grant funds and the Housing and Urban Development grants. In an interview with the OBSERVER on the first six months of his term in office, Mayor Anthony J. Dolce cites issues with city record-keeping and documents, which has led to concerns regarding future grants.
"If they're there, they're not complete. And yes, there are some places that received money that no paperwork exists for," Dolce said. "It just all comes back to a lack of record keeping. Loans that were distributed that we weren't aware of. Places that should be making loan repayments that we don't have."
But whatever problems existed in the past were also during the watch of the current mayor. As a 10-year councilman and the previous councilman at-large, Dolce should have had much greater knowledge of the lack of record keeping than he is learning about now.
Lack of knowledge regarding this issue cannot be an excuse. If Dolce was not getting the information he needed as a council member, why was he not more vocal about it then? If anything, he never sounded a warning on any item except for last August when discussions took place on a $3.1 million seawall project.
If it appears there is plenty of blame to go around in regard to the grants, so be it. But as an elected official, the stewardship of the HUD and CDBG loans were under Dolce's watch as well.