Niagara County appeared to be well represented at newly appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's first visit to Western New York. Gillibrand held a round table discussion with various elected officials and key stakeholders on Saturday at the UB Center of Excellence in Buffalo.
Representatives from Niagara included Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, Senator Antoine Thompson and County Legislator Clyde Burmaster.
What is curious is the absence of County Manager Greg Lewis, who was invited to attend. Just the day before, I had spoken to someone from the county who stated that Lewis had committed to participating in the round table discussion.
Now, we all know that Lewis' is looking for the first train out of Niagara County, and that's just fine with me. But, this guy is under contract and must continue to act in the best interest of our county. Maybe he has a legitimate excuse for missing the event, maybe he doesn't. Right now, we do not know.
Someone in the county legislature needs to stand up at the next meeting and ask Lewis where he was. A face-to-face meeting with our newest Senator is invaluable in cultivating the absolutely necessary relationship building that is so critical. Again, if Lewis had a reasonable excuse to miss this opportunity, that's fine.
Unfortunately our fear is that Lewis has already packed it in. He knows he's a short-termer, and he's not doing anything more than he absolutely needs to. That, my friends, is exactly why we need to know why he wasn't there. And if our fears are confirmed, he needs to be excused from his employment with the county.