Niagara Gazette — Former Niagara County lawmaker Renae Kimble has asked the attorney representing the Niagara Falls Water Board to investigate the residency of board Chairman Ted Janese III.
In a letter delivered Sunday to water board attorney John Ottaviano, Kimble, the water board's vice chair, accused Janese of being in violation of a policy that requires him to maintain his primary place of residence inside city limits.
The water board consists of five members, including three assigned to represent the city and two who are appointed from outside Niagara Falls. In her letter, Kimble maintains that Janese was appointed as one of the city's representatives and, as such, is required to live within the city limits throughout his term. Her letter suggests that any failure or lapse in residency would require his "immediate resignation" under the water board's by-laws.
In her letter, Kimble alleges - based on "available public documents and reasonable belief" - that Janese no longer resides at 8227 Point Ave. in Niagara Falls, but rather lives at 1145 Jarrett Drive in Lewiston. As a result of his living at an "invalid address," Kimble maintains that all actions taken by the water board under Janese's leadership as chairman should be invalidated. She suggests the situation may have existed for "possibly the last three months, if not longer."
The Niagara County Republican Party's website lists Janese's address as 1145 Jarrett Drive, Lewiston. Janese serves as an at-large member with the GOP
"Due to his invalid address and his resultant fraudulent service on the Niagara Falls Water Board we must now go back and establish the precise time in which he no longer resided at the home address which his board appointment was based upon," Kimble wrote. "We then need to marke that date in relation to all board actions that occurred after that date.
"It is my belief that all board votes, deliberation and meetings with Mr. Janese as chairman are illegal and clearly invalid," she continued. "No board action can be allowed to proceed from an invalid and illegal chairmanship."
According to Kimble, the list of board actions to be invalidated should include all votes taken at a meeting held Wednesday, including one authorizing the hiring of Roger Lance - husband of Niagara County Legislator Kathryn Lance, R-Wheatfield - as the water board's director of administrative services. That meeting also included a board vote to hike water rates by 6 percent for 2013.
"It is critical that we properly determine the timeline of his residency in order to back track and correct all the actions of the board," Kimble wrote. "It is also critical that I step up to the chairmanship immediately in order to begin the work that needs to be done to return all due legitimacy and accountability to the Niagara Falls Water Board."
Janese and Ottaviano could not be reached for comment by press time late Monday.