With a new year comes new terms for members of the Dunkirk Common Council.
During council's reorganizational meeting on New Year's Day, all five members were sworn in by City Court Judge Walter Drag for their continuing terms in the legislative body of the city's government. Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak, councilmen Michael Michalski, William Rivera and Adelino Gonzalez and Councilwoman Stacy Szukala will continue on in their leadership positions for additional terms.
"Today, the Common Council begins another term in office," Kiyak said in her comments during the meeting.
OBSERVER Photo by Greg Fox
From left, Dunkirk City Court Judge Walter Drag administers the oath of office to Common Council members Michael Michalski, William Rivera, Adelino Gonzalez, Stacy Szukala and Stephanie Kiyak (councilwoman-at-large) for their continuing terms in office during the reorganizational meeting in City Hall on New Year’s Day.
"The past two years have been, at times, both difficult, and yet rewarding for each of us. As members of the legislative branch, it is our duty to ensure the taxpayers are getting the daily services they need, while always eyeing the future as to how we can improve and grow as a city. Each of us has a responsibility to ensure we do our due diligence with regard to expenditures, and to maintain a transparent, open government."
"As we embark on our next two-year term, I know that the same efforts each councilmember has contributed will continue, and our love for serving the public remains unswerving as the primary reason each of us has committed to another term," Kiyak continued. "We remain hopeful that the city will continue moving in a positive direction, and that together, as a community, we will not only maintain a quality of lifestyle that makes Dunkirk home for so many, but that we become a city where we will attract new residents who want to come here and make Dunkirk their home, as well."
Drag also administered the oath of office to City Treasurer Mark Woods and City Board of Assessors Clerk Thomas Mleczko, both of whom are also continuing on for additional terms.
After everyone had been sworn in, council approved an increase in hours for Fiscal Affairs Officer Richard Halas. Halas will work on a full-time basis and will earn $50,000 per year, as opposed to the $30,000 he previously received in 2013 for a minimum of 25 hours of work per week.
"Two years ago, we discussed the plan of moving forward with an FAO as part-time. It was due to budgetary constraints at that time," Szukala explained to the audience. "However, through the last couple of years, there have been a lot of issues that have been time-sensitive that we feel need a little bit more attention, and at this time, we're moving forward with going back to the full-time FAO so that the duties can be performed in a timely fashion, and that your tax dollars are being spent properly."
"The amounts (Halas) has saved the city alone ... have been tremendous," Michalski added, thanking Halas for his service to the city. The other councilmembers also thanked Halas for the work he has done thus far.
Also during the meeting, the OBSERVER was designated the official city newspaper of Dunkirk for the next two years. Cable Access Channel 12 was designated the official cable television station of the city for the next two years, as well.
Mayor Anthony J. Dolce commented on what residents can look forward to in the city in 2014, including the restoration of the Native American statue that sits on Route 5; the disbursement of grant funding for Central Avenue between Lake Shore Drive and Third Street; ongoing festival planning; road reconstruction; the reconstruction of Lake Front Boulevard; and the continuation of the close partnership with the SUNY Fredonia incubator.
Council received communication from City Clerk Nicole Joiner reappointing Grace Tarnowski to the position of deputy city clerk and deputy registrar of vital statistics. Communication was also received from Woods reappointing Paula Lakas to the position of deputy city treasurer for the next two years.
Marjorie Bohn sang the national anthem and "God Bless America." Invocation and benediction prayers were given by the Rev. Carlos Llera of the Iglesia Getsemani Assemblies of God Church.
The next regular meeting for council will be held Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall.
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