June 20, 2008

Is There Consensus on Greg Lewis?

If you read the last comment on yesterday's post by regular contributor Rob Clark, he makes the following statements: "That seems to be one subject that everyone on this site agrees on. Greg Lewis has to go!!!"

And judging by the different folks commenting lately and particularly yesterday, Mr. Clark seems to draw an accurate conclusion. So, I want to draw that out more. Does Greg Lewis have to go? Is he doing a good job as county manager or has he been a failure? Is it more the Legislature than him? After all, both sides of the aisle essentially gave him a ringing endorsement with his contract extension.

Since I asked the question, I'll go first. I think Greg Lewis has not done very much and while I support the county manager form of government, I do not believe he is the right man for the job.

17 comments:

Larry S said...

I'm not sure how effective Lewis is in his job, but I'm a big PR guy. I am of the school that Andre Agassi espoused 20 years ago: Image is Everything. Lewis is a complete PR disaster. He is slovenly, obese & a downright horrible dresser. His hair is rarely combed and he wears sneakers to functions which that is completely inappropriate. He goes on cable access with a goddamn teddy bear.

Good or bad, right or wrong, people are influenced by appearance. If you look like Lewis, you lose credibility. Not saying it's right, but it is reality. Clean yourself up, Greg.

Anonymous said...

All lewis can do is try to lead the way, but the majority over rules almost every move. How can he be effective when you have 8 bosses ?

Anonymous said...

Then he should go away and save the taxpayers the $300,000 his office costs.

fat tony said...

I disagree with the first anonymous. Lewis to me has made his disdain for the Legislature clear from day one regardless of who is in charge. He fancies himself a county executive when really he is the day to day manager of an operation run by a board of directors known at the County Legislature.

Now we can debate the quality of the Legislature but the fact of the matter is that they are our duly elected representatives. Lewis is just a bureaucrat with an ego.

fat tony said...

And by the way, that teddy bear thing is dead on. How ridiculous.

Fawn Leibowitz said...

As stated previously, we can thank Kimble and Virtuoso for bringing Lewis in and giving him his fat contract extension. And they damn well knew that Lewis had a history of closing county nursing homes because he did it before and it was addressed in his interviews.

If Dennis is a real man, he'd bring a resolution to fire Lewis on the spot. Then, just maybe, Dennis could atone for the repeated fucking he has given the unions.

Anonymous said...

To the anon who said that the "majority over rules almost every move":

You obviously haven't watched a single Leg meeting or read anything about county government over the last couple years. The "majority" has done everything Lewis has proposed: passed every budget, sales tax, Mt. View, public works facility, etc. Get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

The same unions that continue to support him? They're just as much to blame.

rob clark said...

Dawn, this isn’t just his fault. It’s the entire Legislatures fault!
The man holds no regard for himself. Larry is right just look at how he presents himself. I remember seeing him on LCTV giving a presentation back in December and he was wearing a red sweatshirt with what looked like a stain on it. What did he do stop at Wagner’s on the way to the station.

The approach he uses for explaining or defending subjects is even worse. Perhaps it is time that the County revisits the idea of a County Executive form of government. How much worse can we get. We would be better off this way when it comes to appointing Dept. Heads. They just approved 4yr contracts that the Legislature is stuck with. What happens if by some miracle there is a switch in power? Or just an even playing field, for that matter. We are still saddled with these people for 4yrs. If a County Executive appointed them they could be easily replaced.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rob. You can blame Kimble and Virtuoso, but those are only 2 of the 19 leg. All 19 Legislators are accountable for what Lewis has done. My 2 cents get rid of Lewis and the position. Time to try something new.

Frank DeGeorge said...

Rob is right on about that stained shirt. I saw the same thing. More important, I don't agree with how these department heads get contracts that are longer than the term of the Legislature. I thought that was illegal. I know it certainly makes them less accountable.

County Bumpkin said...

Name one significant accomplishment of Greg Lewis? I thought he might be a capable manager, but after watching the way he stuck it to NCCC at the very last moment on their budget shows me he's a man of poor judgment and little character.

Larry Castellani said...

Thumbs down on County Managers
“managing” government. What's that mean anyway? I don't believe his opinions are any less political than the Legislator's opinions. If he's a budget director why the prestige? Why the big salary? I guess the answer would be that money runs politics. Sad.

Anon #1, would you rather have Lewis have no bosses? no controls?
That's dangerous to say the least.

Thinking about government in terms of management models, to me is losing the plot. He’s too well positioned, too influential, given that money is usually the first consideration in gov., that is, when the issue isn’t retaining power.

Bemusement with County Managers to me is being suckered by the “expert myth” that leads us to believe he has some sort of knowledge and apolitical vantage point on politics, that is somehow superior to democratic self-management, self-determination. And how do we know he’s not really just saying what the Leg wants to hear so he can keep his job? This is a Wizard of Oz phenomenon without the wisdom at the end.

It's artificial objectivity that partisan Legislators are going to manipulate in their own interest anyhow. If the Leg needs "expert" opinions, then they should ask specific questions that direct the research that goes into the answer. When the Manager is asking the questions that shapes the answer, then he's democratically involved and not neutral, just like everybody else.

If his opinions are technically neutral, why is he positioned as if he substitutes for a County Executive? I've heard people often refer to "County Manager Government." That usage of the phrase seems to betray the fact that this model really radically changes the whole scenario of how county politics is construed, in short, as a business. Bye, bye democracy.

After all even if you're just making budget recommendations you have to make value judgements about what's worth funding and what's not. Education doesn't seem high on his list, so I'm not a fan.

If he can make serious recommendations for things like Homeland Security Director, then he's managing more than money. So what's the limits on what he can get away with? ...

Turk 182 said...

Perhaps that's Larry's best post ever in getting to the heart of the issue. I would respond that Lewis picks and chooses when he's de facto head of the government or when he is simply an implementor of policy set by others...all, of course, depending on how the situation best measures up to his own self interest.

And Larry is absolutely correct that somehow we have set Lewis up as an expert in local Niagara County government when in reality he had no experience at all in NYS.

Think about that. We often here how complicated NYS is, how local government here is bloated because of state mandates, how the unions are so powerful, yada, yada, yada.

Yet the Legislature thought someone from Minnesota would be able to step into this and lead us through this morass to some better future because he was an expert in local government?

And as an aside, I can't believe that someone who is supposed to bring wisdom to our community would openly advocate for the disinvestment in our community college.

Anonymous said...

Lewis asked that the county only hire 2 conflict lawyers, chair said no we need 6 lawyers. Lewis tries to limit budget increases, but cuts, but the big chair says no. Why the budget surplus? its our money lower the taxes but no hire another flunky.

Anonymous said...

How could you blame dennis for that idiot lewis? ross should of let him take the other job, not kiss his ass and give him a raise. Eight years in charge and still blaming the former chair, sounds like loserville for you.

Anonymous said...

Francine DelMonte, 46, of Niagara Falls, was charged with loitering at 8:18 a.m. Thursday. DelMonte was walking on 19th Street Thursday morning and offered a motorist oral sex in exchange for money, according to the driver, who alerted police. DelMonte also was taken in on a warrant for a previous loitering charge.