Health Insurance Veto – Ordinance and Resolution Differences Explained

Niagara Falls  – The council initiative to cut health insurance for future city council members could have been written as a resolution or an ordinance.

We have seen no evidence that it has to be written as one or the other.

Informed sources say that it could be written either way.

Council member Kenny Tompkins wanted to accomplish cutting the health insurance for future members of the part time council.

Tompkins went to Mayor Paul Dyster’s corporation counsel Craig Johnson who recommended that it be written as an ordinance. Johnson proceeded to write it for Tompkins as an ordinance.

Thomkins in his second month as a council member did not know the difference.

Johnson did not – according to Tompkins – give him an option of writing it as a resolution or an ordinance. Johnson did not advise him of the BIG difference between a resolution and a ordinance.

The big difference is that the mayor can veto an ordinance and cannot veto a resolution.

If a resolution passes 3-2 that’s it. The mayor has no further say.

But if it is written as an ordinance, the mayor can veto it and now it needs 4 votes to pass.

The health insurance cutting ordinance passed by a simple majority of 3-2.

Two men have voted against it – Council members Charles Walker and Ezra Scott – neither are effected by the cost cut. Council Chairman Andrew Touma and Council Member Kristen Grandinetti along with Tompkins voted to cut the health insurance for those elected in the future.

When the mayor vetoed Tompkins’ ordinance – 4 votes are needed to override the veto.

The council could investigate rewriting this as a resolution.

But will Touma and Grandinetti, who voted for the cut, still support it if it shifts to a resolution?

Or will they support the mayor and shift to a vote against cutting?

Will it be pronounced dead with the claim that it has to be an ordinance?

Dyster knows all the powers. The council knows some of their powers.

Citizens haven’t a clue.

Did Grandinetti and Touma  know – when they voted to cut  – that Dyster could and would defeat it through a veto?

We strongly urge Tompkins to research whether or not he could re-write this measure as a resolution.

When Grandinetti proposed cutting the opt out on the health insurance in 2013, she was savvy enough to make sure it was written as a resolution – not an ordinance.

It did not get the votes since several council members were taking the opt out and did not want to give up their benefits.

But if the council can cut their opt out by a resolution, can they not cut another benefit – the health insurance?

Failure to research this suggests that the council will allow the mayor to infiltrate the council, the executive usurping the powers of the legislative, through using his corporation counsel to advise the council members to write measures to suit the mayor.

Which begs the final question: Why is the mayor against this cost cutting measure? It does not affect him. All of the present council would be unaffected.

Touma, Grandinetti and Walkers’ terms expire next year.

One or more of these may not run for reelection and Dyster may have candidates in mind that will want the benefits.

Dyster would never comment on that. We are left with his statement that he does not think that good effective part time council candidates will come forward unless they have the perks.

Did Dyster really mean “I need these benefits in place to get the council members I need.”

They grab with both hands in Niagara Falls.

That public service is not the inducement.

It’s the money that is the lure or should be.






  1. Still doesn’t explain the supposed civil suit that the city would be lined up for if it was put through. All that basically would have done is changed the employee benefit package like re-opening a union would.

    This is why Thomkins wouldn’t include himself in the “Ordinance”:

    “Nearly 20 percent of the Falls’ annual budget remains devoted to active employee and retiree health care benefits. And Tompkins is among them, disclosing he would accept the family insurance package due to personal matters when he submitted the resolution early in January.

    Tompkins gave further insight into the situation Tuesday. He and his wife were among the first vehicles involved in the 50-car pileup in November 2014 on the northbound Grand Island Bridge. His wife, who suffered from a series of chronic illnesses, was left with severely decreased quality of life while Tompkins suffered six herniated disks in his back.”

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