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Mayor won't fill water chief's position

Mayor Robert G. Ortt says he does not intend to hire a new water and sewer chief in the wake of the departure of an official whose time was being shared with the City of Lockport.

An 18-month agreement to share the time and the cost of salary and benefits for Paula M. Sattelberg ended Thursday, and Sattelberg resumed working full time for Lockport.

Union considerations ended the deal, Ortt said Friday. North Tonawanda was unable to work out a permanent agreement regarding the position-sharing with the Office and Professional Employees International Union, and Sattelberg did not want to join that union anyway.

She is a member of the City of Lockport department head bargaining unit.

"Both Mayor Ortt and I had hoped [the arrangement] would be permanent," Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker said. "The union thought the city was contracting out their work."

Ortt said Sattelberg's tenure showed that North Tonawanda's water and sewer departments can be run by a part-timer, so he intends to keep it that way.

"We were saving $70,000 [a year] in salary and benefits. We're not going to add to our budget," Ortt vowed.

He said he wants to work out a deal with the union permitting the water and sewer duties to be given to one or more existing department heads. In the meantime, Ortt said, division chiefs in the water and sewer operation will report to him.

Lockport City Clerk Richelle J. Pasceri said that the Lockport Common Council, anticipating that the position-sharing deal might not be renewed, included a full salary of $68,433 for Sattelberg's post as director of utilities in the 2012 budget.

"We don't have to amend our budget," Pasceri said.

The total cost for Sattelberg, split equally between the two cities, was $106,144, which included salary, all benefits and a $10,000 stipend in lieu of overtime and mileage, Pasceri said.

The deal was reached in 2010 after Paul J. Drof left the North Tonawanda water and sewer post.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com