The silence coming out of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission regarding the departure of long-time General Manager Tom Garlock has been deafening over the past week. It's obvious to all that there is a deliberate effort being made to hide the circumstances of Garlock's departure and any discussion of a sweetheart send off package (rumored to be $250K plus lifetime health insurance.)
Yesterday, Business First may have found the first crack in the Commission's wall of silence...see below. Perhaps Governor Paterson should make accountability of agencies and commissions part of his speech this afternoon to reign in the cost of government.
Departing commissioner: Garlock was fired
Business First of Buffalo - by James Fink Business First
Just a few days after the long-time general manager of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission abruptly resigned, one of the commission's directors has resigned in protest. Brian Wilkie, a Canadian representative on the eight-member board, has left his seat. He claims that the resignation of Tom Garlock as general manager was engineered by his fellow commissioners.
Wilkie, a manager of Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc., a city-owned firm that distributes electricity, told the Niagara Falls Review that the other commissioners' role in Garlock's sudden departure was "unconscionable, unethical and harmful to the commission."In his resignation letter, Wilkie said "he refused to endorse this action."
Garlock had been the bridge commission's general manager since late 2000. The commission oversees the operations and maintenance of Lewiston-Queenston, Rainbow and Whirlpool bridges between Western New York and Southern Ontario.Garlock, a Lockport native, led the commission through several construction projects aimed at improving traffic flow on the three bridges.
He declined to comment on the latest developments. Garlock has been a prominent figure in the local economic development scene, having also served as Buffalo Zoo president and as a key legislative aide to a number of Niagara County elected officials. With Wilkie's resignation, the commission is down to two members.
Diane Vitello, a Niagara Falls attorney, resigned her post earlier this year after she was named a judge. Under its bylaws, the commission has four Ontario directors - all appointed by Ontario's Ministry of Government Services - and four New York directors, all of whose appointments come from Albany.Gov. David Paterson, who was in Buffalo last week, declined to comment on Garlock's departure and when asked about naming a replacement for Vitello responded by saying "yes."