By GIB SNYDER
OBSERVER City Editor
Some people in City Hall knew, others did not. City taxpayers will have a new fiscal affairs officer come Jan. 2, the third since December 2011.
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
Dunkirk Fiscal Affairs Officer Harry Briggs is being replaced in 2013. Mayor Anthony J. Dolce confirmed the change Monday, but said he could not release the name of a replacement at this time.
Mayor Anthony J. Dolce confirmed Monday that current Fiscal Affairs Officer Harry Briggs, whom Dolce appointed in January after he took office as mayor, is being replaced. Briggs replaced James Curtin, who had served under former Mayor Richard Frey. Dolce said a replacement for Briggs is lined up but he could not release the person's name for the time being.
Dolce was asked if there was any reason in particular for the change.
"No, we just had an opportunity to bring in someone with municipal experience and I couldn't have passed that up," he replied. "We're quite excited."
Dolce said the new person will be an independent contractor and work 25 hours per week at an average of $23 per hour. Briggs was hired as an independent contractor at $20 per hour for 20 hours per week.
The mayor added the resolution naming the new person will be presented at Common Council's Jan. 2 meeting after the new hire works out details with his current employer.
"He's going to work three full days in the building, whatever is considered the normal working day for these jobs, and then also come in when he's done with his other job those other days of the week," Dolce explained. ""He's going to be with us the three full days. He's still sorting through all the particulars but we'll be able to count on him for at least three full normal working days in City Hall."
Briggs, a former First Ward councilman and one-time City Democratic Committee member, served briefly as fiscal affairs officer under then Mayor Robert Kesicki.
"Harry did a solid job for us," Dolce said of the long-time Democrat. "He was put in a tough situation and I appreciate what he did, but we had an opportunity to get someone with municipal experience and we're quite excited about that."
In May, Briggs came under fire at a council Finance Committee meeting when First Ward Councilman and committee chair Michael Michalski told Briggs he needed to be better prepared for the meetings. Briggs admitted some council members weren't fans.
"I didn't have the favor of the council and they were pushing to get rid of me, so that's what they did," he stated.
Briggs recalled an exchange with Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak about a bill from the city's outside auditors that came with the answers to questions Kiyak had about 2011 adjusting entries.
"They wanted everything explained. It's just closing the books," he explained. "So what happened is they billed them. Kiyak thought that they would do it for nothing. It cost quite a bit of money.
"I told her every time you ask these guys a question they bill you. She didn't believe that. It was writing on the wall."
Briggs was asked if council was overstepping its authority.
"They want to be in on everything and have the vote on whether they should pay it or not," he replied. "It holds up the whole process."
Briggs said when he came on the job in January the fiscal affairs office was in pretty good condition.
"There wasn't anything out of line that I found, it was just the stuff council wanted. They think everyone is a crook," he explained. "I said they aren't. I know all those people. ... I didn't have any trouble other than with council, they asked different questions that didn't make any sense. They don't want to spend any money for what the people want."
Briggs said he liked the job and the people still on the job, Evelyn Woloszyn and Kevin Mikula.
As for the future, Briggs said he would work on his tax return business.
"I'm going to be around," he stated.
Dolce said the rest of the people he appointed when he took office will remain as part of his administration.
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