WE stay on the record

OPEN and HONEST.  Two simple, yet important words. In government, politics, journalism and life. WE appreciate all of the conversation on our Facebook page and shared posts. Let’s keep talking to each other. On day two of this campaign, I directly answered to nonfactual reporting because a response was needed. I am going to keep answering any and all questions via social media or in person. My follow-up October 7, 2018 letter to The Niagara Reporter is included in this post and attached. I am hoping it will provide correct details to anyone with questions. Staying on the record ensures openness and honesty. Thanks. – Seth        

PDF version of the 10/7/2018 Letter to The Niagara Reporter

Text of 10/7/2018 Letter:

Mr. Nicholas D’Angelo, Managing Editor 

The Niagara Reporter

PO Box 3038

Niagara Falls, New York 14304

 Mr. D’Angelo: 

 I responded to the Niagara Reporter’sSeptember 26, 2018 article in a video titled “Correcting the Niagara Reporteron the Hatch Act” on the “Seth for NF” Facebook Page, and sethforNF.com which included a link to a document about the 2012 Hatch Modernization Act of 2012 titled “Congress Allows Most State and Local Public Employees to Run for Partisan Office” published for public use by the United States Office of Special Counsel. 

The Niagara Reporterthen posted an article on it’s website as a rebuttal to that video on October 5, 2018, spending money to sponsor this article through social media. It is again important to note that The Niagara Reporterdid not contact me for comment nor did it provide adequate context about the federal Hatch Act to its readers.  The article included incorrect information about the federal Hatch Act and 2019 Niagara Falls City Budget proposal. 

Your own words prove you wrong. This correspondence is written in the same spirit as my video. I want facts to matter. 

1.       The Niagara Reporter’sarticle circles “*fully funded by grant” on the “Budget Personnel” page. The revenues page of that same budget document lists both non-federal grant sources and a transfer from the general fund as a revenue source to pay salaries. The Niagara Falls Community Development Department receives more than federal grant funds alone. The word grant does not only automatically mean federal grant. Your article purposefully misrepresents the budget document to lead readers to that conclusion.

2.             The footnote “*fully funded by grant” is clearly denoted for the Zombie Fight Coordinator Position, funded through a competitive grant from the Office of the New York State Attorney General, but the article misrepresents this to claim that the Community Development Director position is fully grant funded. 

3.             The proposed budget does not include a new salary, or a salary increase for me in 2019 as your article alludes to. I have offered to take on additional managerial responsibilities without additional pay. I did the same in 2018, as I am being paid one dollar to oversee the Code Enforcement Department.  Niagara Falls Reporterstaff did not attend or cover the October 3, 2018 public Code Enforcement Department budget meeting. The Niagara Reporterwrote at least three articles about a budget proposal, confused federal law, misread a departmental budget proposal, made false claims about me as an individual, but did not attend a public budget meeting on the specific subject.  

4.              In the current budget year (2018) or in the proposed 2019 budget, my salary structure does not violate the federal Hatch Act. My salary, and the salaries of everyone in the Community Development Department, are not 100% funded by the federal government. The budget pages that you shared on your website show the various non-federal sources from which these salaries are funded. 

5.             This not only about me. Your article confuses a federal act that applies to many local and regional employees. Such confusion could harm their ability to access the democratic process.    

These articles appear to demonstrate a lack of journalistic and legal integrity.  Your documented willingness to engage in unethical behavior may have stopped some people from directly addressing you in the past. However, I believe the time has come to abandon much of the behavior that has held our city back for many years. The people of Niagara Falls deserve to be informed with well-researched facts. 

 I believe elections are about voters making choices based on solid information, and not about backroom deals between politicians and journalists, or the willful misleading of the public through questionable journalistic practices. 

 

Signed, 

Seth Piccirillo

 

 

 

Seth Piccirillo