Council overrides Rosas veto
Unanimous vote blocks mayor’s rehiring of two fired city employees
Following a lengthy executive session, the Dunkirk Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday to override Mayor Wilfred Rosas’ veto against the termination of two city employees. The individuals being removed are Executive Assistant Vicki Westling and Human Resources Director David Campola.
The veto, which Rosas enacted on Jan. 13, states that he is doing so because the section of the charter that the Council used to remove these employees was originally vetoed in 1985 by then-Mayor Ed Gregoreski and “was never overridden by a council majority,” as well as never being placed on the ballot for a public referendum. His other reason was that the “council has yet to provide any legitimate reason for termination.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, several individuals got up during the public comments section and voiced their concerns.
“For any region or city to thrive there has to be a collection of people who are committed to building the foundations and structures of the community; to make it a place where people are attracted to live,” John Ames said. “Each of you on the city council won your elections by having that kind of commitment. I believe the same commitment is present in the three people who have been named as being possible dismissals from the city administration.”
Former Fourth Ward councilman Mike Civiletto mentioned the sanctity of the chamber and surrounding air that the council has before bringing up his point from the previous meeting, wondering what the council’s reason is for removing these people.
“Convince me, the city and the citizens of Dunkirk that these resolutions are not politically motivated or not personal vendettas,” Civiletto asked. “No responses, but after that meeting Councilman-at-large VanDenVouver spoke volumes. He called Mr. Campola’s name twice and then yelled, while still in this chamber, ‘and that’s why you’re gone you piece of (expletive).’ You, sir, owe all of us an apology.”
“And you will not get one from me,” VanDenVouver responded quickly.
The meeting continued on normally with the overrides and following it, saw a few elected officials go on the record with their thoughts.
“If they were doing their job and not wasting taxpayers’ money they would probably still be here,” VanDenVouver stated. “I don’t think they were doing a good job and so does the rest of the council. So they needed to go and this is why we let them go tonight. There’s so many reasons, but I just can’t get into the personal issues of it, but they were doing a lousy job and they needed to go. The official reason is that we have better qualified people to take their jobs.”
VanDenVouver went on to explain that Rosas is actively interviewing people right now, but stated that the position of executive assistant is looking to be disbanded completely.
“I think that Vicki’s position was a waste of money, it’s propaganda for the mayor, to follow him around to take pictures and write articles for him. I’d rather have somebody take her money, put a shovel in their hand and send them over to parks. Make them useful for the city taxpayers.”
He went on to say that when a new regime comes in that those people need people they can trust and in his opinion they can’t trust them.
When asked about City Attorney Richard Morrisroe’s possible dismissal, First Ward Councilman Don Williams stated that they “had some discussion and there’s been some compromise and we figured we would wait and see.”
Rosas told the OBSERVER after the meeting that the city is now looking for a new human resources director a well as another executive assistant.
“We are going to be working with council, we had an executive session today regarding this issue,” Rosas said. “I thought it was fruitful and I’m hoping that we can resolve this issue without having to go to court.”