February 2, 2009

Has Lewis Already Packed It In?

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.


Paladin said...

We find it curious as well, Hobbes. But from our point of view, Greg not showing up, dripping gravy down the front of his Size 4X sweatshirt, may be the best thing he's ever done for this county. At least Burmaster is a pretty classy guy by all accounts, and a pushover for no one.

Maybe we can start collecting to help Greg with his U-Haul rental?

Barney said...

This is not funny - I don't want to hear fat jokes.

If he did not attend and he does not have a legitimate excuse – I’d say that this is a serious matter that leads me to believe that he is not doing his job.

I agree, someone need to look into this matter; this was a golden opportunity and a “real” miss for Niagara County.

James T. Kirk said...

Barney, you are correct. Mr. Lewis had an obligation to work for our interests. He obviously was invited; press reports indicated he planned to be there. Apparently, the fact that his job search has come to light has caused him to duck all media and go into hiding.

It's a shame, really. While Mr. Lewis has been far from effective in his role administering Niagara's government, he's still the man in the office, and I expect him to continue to work for us all until his resignation or termination becomes effective. It would appear that, now that the heat is on, he is trying to avoid the kitchen. But we deserve better.

Mr. Lewis needed to meet with Senator Gillibrand, and make her aware of critical infrastructure needs of Niagara County. He needed to talk with her about anything that the stimulus bill could aid. Millions of dollars in federal funding for our county's future were on the line this weekend, and Mr. Lewis was AWOL.

Frank DeGeorge said...

Why isn't our august Legislature calling out Lewis about his intentions and his commitment to his current job.

In the initial article, the legislators acted shocked and now, nearly a week later, we still haven't heard anything from any of them about the status of Lewis.

I'm beginning to wonder if some people at the higher end of the Legislative leadrship team knew that Lewis was job hunting and didn't say anything.

Mr. Pink said...

I like Frank's point. Why isn't Bill Ross at least commenting on how he feels about this and what he thinks should be done (if anything.)

At some level, I could accept Ross saying this needs to play out before action is taken because at least he'd be commenting.

The silence is deafening.

Barney said...

I did some digging.

For now you will not hear any complaints from the county legislature.

They would view any complaining as “political grandstanding” and most of the body wants to take a “wait and see approach”.

After all they did just renew his contract and I'm hearing that it is “iron clad”, he is in the driver’s seat not the legislature.

They cannot fire him.

Where is the public and talk radio on this issue? I have not heard a peep out of them – maybe this will change tonight.