Niagara County Public Health Director Dan Stapleton has done an excellent job since taking the reigns of the Health Department a couple of years back. He's proactively addressed health threats such as H1N1 and MRSA, as well as creating and implementing programs to better the overall health of our community.
However, Stapleton has seriously crossed the line in attempting to dictate policy that has nothing to do with his responsibilities.
In today's Buffalo News, Stapleton states that that the former Harrison Radiator plant in its current condition is not a suitable location for his department. As you may recall, two Lockport county legislators directed County Manager Greg Lewis to investigate the feasibility of moving the county Health Department and Mental Health Department out of the run-down Shaw Building to the Harrison Place.
Now, Stapleton could in fact be right in his assessment. But it's not his place to speak on this. He was not asked to do the analysis, and he certainly was not asked to make comments to the press about it. Seriously, Dan, what the the hell are you thinking? He has unequivocally undermined the authority of his the people who employ him. In the private sector, we call that insubordination, and you get fired for it.
In reality, Stapleton's screw-up probably isn't entirely his fault. Greg Lewis, in between his attempts to find the next best job, likely used Stapleton as his pawn. But Stapelton needs to be smarter than that - Stapelton has a future with the county - Lewis does not.
But that does not excuse Stapleton's actions here. Let's hope someone in the county legislature is strong enough to convey to Stapleton that actions such as this will not be tolerated again.