Council says no to request for Water Board pay

JOHNSTOWN – The city Water Board’s five elected members will remain unpaid.

The Common Council recently rejected the board’s request for compensation.

City Clerk Cathy VanAlstyne said the council reached a “consensus” against paying the Water Board members, although no formal vote was taken.

The elected Water Board members have been unpaid for decades, but top members of the board approached the council in April to see if the board members could start to get paid.

Water Board President Nicholas Cannizzo Sr. and board Vice President John Pradelski recommended the president and vice president be paid $75 per board meeting and other members receive $50 per board meeting. The board is a separate entity from city government, but must gain council approval in certain matters.

Cannizzo and Pradelski emphasized that Water Board members spend considerable time working on contractual matters, going to the city’s reservoirs and handling other city residents’ water issues all hours of the day and night.

The Water Board generally meets once a month at the water department building on East Main Street, but occasionally in special sessions.

The water officials also said they respond along with city Water Department crews to water system-repairs and leaks in all kinds of weather at all hours of the day.

Cannizzo said the board received a letter recently from the city confirming the council’s decision against pay for the Water Board members, but he said he received “no explanation” for the denial.

He said his board accepts the decision.

First Ward Councilwoman Cynthia Lakata said, “It’s a volunteer board. It’s always been a volunteer board, and that’s the way it is. That was the consensus on it [on the council].”

Mayor Michael Julius had no comment on the rejection.