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Destino lands job as Niagara Falls purchasing agent

NIAGARA FALLS – Johnny G. Destino has finally landed in City Hall.

The former Niagara Falls School Board member and mayoral and State Senate candidate starts his $62,000-a-year job as the city’s new purchasing agent on Monday, Mayor Paul A. Dyster said Friday.

Destino, who ran a mayoral campaign against Dyster four years ago, recently had been considered for the city’s top information technology job.

“He had strong credentials for both of these positions,” Dyster said.

In 2011, Destino ran as a Republican for mayor against the Dyster, a Democrat. He also ran as a Republican for the State Senate in 2012, then switched parties and ran again for State Senate last year as a Democrat.

Destino, 38, also served nearly five years on the School Board before resigning in February. He was one of about a half-dozen people who were interviewed for the purchasing job, the mayor said.

The qualifications for the position, cited in the job posting on the city’s website, include a bachelor’s degree, as well as “two years of responsible experience in volume purchasing, and supervision.”

When asked what relevant experience Destino has, Dyster said Destino worked for the North Carolina Farm Bureau for two years, where he “basically was doing asset management and inventory tracking for their corporate IT department.”

Part of that job was to support 200 field offices across that state, the mayor said.

Destino also has supervisory experience, including developing a departmental budget, dealing with vendors and negotiating contracts, from his time working for the Seneca Gaming Corp., where he was an information technology operations manager and technical services manager from 2003 to 2007.

Destino also has been an attorney since 2010.

“He had a huge amount of relevant experience,” Dyster said.

The job duties, which involve “a variety of administrative duties in large-scale purchasing and bid activity,” include soliciting bids, managing the city’s purchasing system, supervising all leased equipment and monitoring of city contracts. The purchasing agent position supervises a department of three employees.

The post, which comes with a fringe benefits package, is a civil service job, meaning Destino will have to score in the top three among those who take the test in order to move beyond provisional status. Dyster said he expects the test to be given “probably next spring.”

The position has been virtually empty since longtime purchasing agent Dean Spring retired in mid-2013. Spring was making about $69,000 at the time he retired, Dyster said.

The city hired someone to be purchasing agent last June, but that person kept the job for two days.

Destino applied to become the city’s director of management information systems earlier this year. Earlier this month, Dyster appointed a systems administrator from the Niagara Falls Police Department to that job.

The city had been accepting applications for the purchasing agent job through May 1, according to the job posting.

Dyster said he believes Destino will be able to bring the city’s purchasing system “into the 21st century,” both operationally and technologically speaking.

He also said he believes Destino will be able to make sure the city is meeting national standards for purchases of environmentally sensitive products, like cleaning fluids, pesticides and fertilizers.

Destino declined to comment when reached late Friday.