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AS NIAGARA FALLS

Striking a new career note

Chairman Anthony F. Quaranto, who will retire from the Niagara Falls City Council on Dec. 31, thinks he may have found a new career, and he wants to take one of his colleagues with him. He said fellow Councilman Charles A. Walker sang such a beautiful rendition of the hymn "Amazing Grace" at last week's candlelight vigil for the victims of the terrorist attacks that Quaranto wants to be his manager.

"I think we can go a lot further in music than we can in politics," Quaranto said.

Tragedy brings perspective

. . . After Walker's victory in Tuesday's delayed Primary election, where he came in first among five candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for three Council seats, it looks like Walker may be staying around for a bit. But he said the events of Sept. 11 gave him a whole new perspective.

"On Sept. 11 all I was thinking about was the election. Then it didn't matter anymore. To this day it doesn't matter anymore," Walker said, reflecting the thoughts of many on how their priorities have been altered.

Panel feels a bit spooked

City Charter Review Commission Chairman Sean Q. Kelly wrestled last week with how to get the public to attend the commission's next public forum at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 in the John A. Duke Center, 1201 Hyde Park Blvd. After a disappointing turnout of only 15 people at an August forum, Kelly asked commission members to try to come up with some sort of theme or gimmick to entice people to come.

"You mean like Halloween trick or treats?" asked commission member Barbara Iannarelli

"Yeah. Or we're going to outlaw Halloween in the City Charter," Kelly said. "Then maybe we could get people out."

Managing a light touch

When they appeared before the commission last week, former City Managers Morton H. Abramowitz and Nicholas E. Marchelos couldn't resist poking some fun at past City Councils that at times changed city managers so often that the office was said to have a revolving door.

Asked how long he was city manager, Marchelos answered "one afternoon."

Abramowitz survived for five years, which could be considered a lifetime compared with Marchelos' 10 months.

"But the only term of office I had was a two-week term of office because they could fire me anytime," Abramowitz said alluding to the Council's biweekly meeting schedule.

ABCs of a budget process

Marchelos started his remarks by making clear his preference for a strong-mayor form of government "even though I was a former city manager or because I was a former city manager."

Marchelos also shared his thoughts about the current budget process under which the Council goes through the mayor's proposed budget line by line, page by page.

"They never get past (page) 11. If you're a department head, you hope your budget starts with the letter 'B'," he said.

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