The Buffalo News Editorial Board dropped the hammer today on the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission in one of the most stinging editorials I have read in some time. The News takes the Bridge Commission to task over their failure to make public the details of former Executive Director Tom Garlock's departure and the amount of his severance package.
First, we agree with the News 100 percent. The Bridge Commission is a public entity subject to Freedom of Information laws and as such, their stonewalling on providing the information is disgraceful.
What we find particularly interesting is that one of the commissioners who is stonewalling is Pat Brown. You may remember that Pat Brown is a certified public accountant who ran unsuccessfully for County Treasurer, losing a hard fought contest to Dave Broderick. Many have speculated that Brown will seek the office again.
Well, Pat, as a CPA, you are well aware of the need for accountability and transparency in government agencies. During your campaign, you talked about bringing professionalism to the Treasurer's office and being a taxpayer watchdog. Now that you have a position in government, as an appointee of Governor Paterson, we see that your rhetoric does not equal your actions.
Pat, how can you hope to ever be taken seriously as a candidate in the future with this on your record? As a CPA, how can you justify withholding information from the public, basing that on some technical reading of the law, when the morally correct thing to do is make the information public? Do you think it's right that the Bridge Commission operates in the shadows, away from the sunshine of public transparency?
The sad truth is Pat Brown, who ran from Treasurer as a respected private sector CPA, turns out is just another politician. But Pat, as my dad used to day, it's never too late to do the right thing.