Swearing-in ceremonies are scheduled for 11 a.m. on New Year's Day as one administration moves out of City Hall and another prepares to move in.
Republican Mayor-elect Irene J. Elia and three new City Council members, Republican Joseph R. D'Angelo and Democrats Paul A. Dyster and Frances M. Iusi, will be sworn in, and the Council will hold a reorganizational meeting, which will include the election of a new chairman. In an informal poll, Councilman Anthony F. Quaranto appeared to be the front-runner. Councilwoman Barbara A. Geracitano said she will nominate and vote for herself, as she has numerous other times.
Also being sworn in will be several members of the Niagara County Legislature who represent Niagara Falls, all of whom were re-elected in November.
While the Democrats lost control of the mayor's office and one Council seat to the Republicans, they kept control of the Council by a comfortable 5-2 margin. The three new members unseated one-term Councilman Vince V. Anello and veteran Guy T. Sottile, who lost the Democratic primary and chose not to campaign on minor party lines. Council Chairwoman Connie M. Lozinsky chose not to seek a second term.
Unlike some previous changes of administration, when outgoing department heads got their walking papers and the new appointees were announced on New Year's Day, Elia already has sent pink slips to many of outgoing Mayor James C. Galie's team and announced the names of most of her managers.
In addition to those named previously, last week she named Nancy Colavecchia as her confidential secretary. Colavecchia has worked as an administrative assistant at the Clarion Hotel and to the publisher of the Niagara Gazette. Elia said Colavecchia's duties will be more those of an administrative assistant than of a secretary.
Elia last week also asked William Bolents to stay on as acting director of the Sewer Department, a job he has been doing for nearly four years, since Galie fired the last director, Robert Game.
She also named Gerald G. Grose acting director of the water plant, a job he held before. Current Water Director Ralph F. Aversa is one of those notified he wouldn't have a place in the Elia administration.
Elia said she appointed the acting directors because the Council combined the two positions into a director of utilities but did not put funding for the position in the budget, so she can't fill it until that is worked out.
Still to be named is Elia's second-in-command, the city administrator. The City Charter gives the mayor appointive power over only four positions -- corporation counsel, city clerk and controller, all of whom must be confirmed by the Council, and the administrator. The charter says all other appointments belong to the administrator, although in practical terms, no administrator is likely to make an appointment that isn't approved by the mayor.
Galie began to be more public about his role in hirings and firings. Still, City Administrator Anthony J. Restaino, who will leave City Hall with Galie Friday, says the administrator ought to at least be involved in the selection process since he or she is charged with responsibility for the day-to- day operations of city government and the person who works most directly with department heads.
Elia's announcements prior to the selection of an administrator deny even the pretense that the administrator is making the appointments, opening her up to some criticism. She answers it by saying she plans to be a "hands-on" chief executive.
The key words in the charter, she says, are that the administrator serves at the pleasure of the mayor. Elia said she doesn't want "just a body" and has to find the right fit. She said she may make her choice in the next few days.
In addition to meeting with Galie and Restaino, Elia said that she also has visited all departments in City Hall and that some of her department heads have been meeting with their outgoing counterparts. She said she plans to "make the rounds" frequently and set up a schedule for visiting departments outside of City Hall such as the Sewer and Water department. She said she plans to ride a snowplow as well.
Last week, the mayor-elect held a team-building session with her departments heads, a method she employed with the Council a few weeks ago. She said she plans to meet weekly with the core group, as well as meeting with rank-and-file employees.
Richard N. Knowles, who ran the session, told the directors they should care for and support each other and not "leave each other hanging out to dry."
Knowles, a retired plant manager for E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., who is volunteering his expertise in "living systems thinking," provided a clue as to Elia's management style. "One mistake is OK. Two, we've got to learn from it. Three, she may run out of patience," he said.