JAMESTOWN – When Jamestown mayor-elect Eddie Sundquist is sworn into office on Jan. 1, his first official duty as mayor will be to fill several administrative positions as well as make appointments (or reappointments) to more than three dozen seats on various city boards and commissions (including three citizen representative seats and one city council representative seat on the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities).
As written in the city charter, the mayor is tasked with making appointments to a variety of director positions, along with various boards, commissions and city officers. However, the city council is given the power of consent, meaning any appointment by the mayor must be approved by at least a simple majority of the Jamestown City Council.
“Obviously there is a very limited amount of time for us to find everyone – again 38 spots along with department positions. So if we are able to and after we receive approval from the council – the council will receive the list about a week or two before the (appointment) vote – if we have approval to release it we will do so,” Sundquist said during his transition strategy announcement on Friday.
It should be noted that there is no requirement in the city charter that the mayor first provide a list his prospective appointees to the city council before making it public, let alone that the council must give the mayor persmission to provide the list prior to its review.
ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS UP FOR APPOINTMENT ON JAN. 1
Among the administrative appointments Sundquist must make are for the following positions:
- Director of Administrative Services/City Clerk (currently held by acting clerk Jim Olson through Dec. 31, 2019)
- City Comptroller (currently held by Joe Bellitto through Dec. 31, 2019)
- Director of Development (vacated Nov. 12 by Vince DeJoy)
- Director of Public Works (currently held by Jeff Lehman through Dec. 31, 2019)
- Corporation Counsel/HR Director (currently held by Peter Larson through Dec. 31, 2019)
Both current city clerk Jim Olson and current city comptroller Joe Bellitto plan to retire in the near future, though in Bellitto’s case he has stated he would be willing to stay on in 2020 to help transition a new comptroller.
In the case of the director of development, currently city principal planner Crystal Surdyk is coordinating the department through the remainder of this year.
Public works director Jeff Lehman is the longest-serving department head, having been in his position since 1994 and serving under two different mayors (Republican Richard Kimball and current mayor and Democrat Sam Teresi). Lehman has not indicated any plans to step down from his position and it will be up to Sundquist to determine if he should be reappointed for another four years or go with someone else.
Larson was appointed city attorney this past March to fill out the remainder of the term of former corporation counsel Marylin Fiore-Lehman, who announced her departure to take a position with the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office. He has also continued to work for the private practice of Bly, Sheffield, Bargar & Pillittieri since his appointment.
The position of Jamestown Public Safety Director / Police Chief is also an appointed position, which is currently held by chief Harry Snellings. However, the term of that position will not end until Dec. 31, 2021.
THREE BPU SEATS HIGHLIGHT BOARD AND COMMISSION APPOINTMENTS
According to information provided to WRFA by the city clerk’s office, there are 38 different city board and commission seats up for appointment or reappointment on Jan. 1. Among them are four seats on the Jamestown BPU.
For the BPU, both citizen board members Martha Zenns and Terrance Horner are in the final year of their four-year term. In addition, citizen board member Ralph Wallace is in the final year of his two-year term on the board. Sundquist will also have to appoint a city council representative to the BPU. Currently Maria Jones is serving as the city council’s BPU member, but she lost reelection on Nov. 5 and as a result, another member of the new city council will have to be appointed to her seat. Rounding out the BPU citizen members are currently BPU chair Gregory Rabb along with Jim Olson (both terms end on Dec. 31, 2021). The remaining three BPU members will be Eddie Sundquist, who serves as board president by way of his position as mayor, along with the public works director (currently Jeff Lehman) and the president of the city council (currently Marie Carrubba).
(Note: Because Carrubba is a Democrat and the Republican party will take control of the council on Jan. 1, it’s expected a new city council president will be named and, as a result, that person will then assume that seat on the BPU. Speculation is that councilman Tony Dolce will be voted Council president on Jan. 1.)
– OTHER BOARDS/COMMISSIONS –
There are ten other board and commission seats and officer positions that will also need appointment are reappointment come Jan. 1. They include:
Jamestown Local Development Corporation (4 year term)
- Two seats currently held by George Spitale and Mark Morton plus one city council representative seat, currently held by Kim Ecklund (2 year term)
Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency (4 year term)
- One seat currently held by Martha Zenns
Zonning Board of Appeals (3 year term)
- Three seats currently held by Ellen DiTonto (current chair), Sally Martinez, and Judith Sandson.
Planning Commission (5 year term)
- One seat currently held by Paul Whitford.
Property, Rehabilitation and Conservation Board of Appeals (3 year terms)
- Seven seats currently held by Nanzy Griswold, Mary Maxwell, Sharon McKotch, Gary Sorenson, and three vacancies.
Parks, Recreation and Conseration Commission (5 year term)
- Two seats currently held by Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. and John Bauer
Riverfront Management Council (3 or 5 year terms)
- One Vacancy; Two designated Parks, Rec. and Con. Commission Member (Currently Russell Diethrick Jr. and John Bauer); One Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy Representative; One Roger Tory Peterson Institute Representative; One Jamestown Audubon Society representatives; One Jamestown High School represenative; and three JHS Student representatives (all 5 year terms).
Veterans Memorial Commission (3 year terms)
- Three seats currently held by Charles Telford (chair), Daniel Kell, and Theresa Baginski.
Board of Electrical Examiners (2 year term)
- Two seats currently held by James McTavish and Steve Nowel.
Constable (4 year term)
- Three positions up for reappointment: Marie Hill (holdover), Camille Krawczyk (holdover), and Michael Berg.
Marriage officer (4 year term)
- Three officers up for reappoinment: Gregory Rabb, Paul Whitford, and Lillian Ney.
“These can be voted on collectively on January 1 or tabled until the next regularly scheduled meeting, probably January 27,” explained city clerk Jim Olson when providing the list to WRFA.