September 15, 2009

Lewis' Ineptitude To Cost Taxpayers Millions

Well, this one's gonna be painful. Niagara County Manager Greg Lewis' ineptitude is going to cost us, the taxpayers of the county, millions and millions of dollars.

The county, which closed the Mount View nursing home at the direction of Lewis, is now facing a $5 million bill after a state arbitrator agreed with the union that the county failed to follow layoff procedures as required by contract when it moved forward with Mount View’s closure. The arbitration is binding.

It's hardly been a secret that we have no use for Lewis. His buffoonery aside, his complete and utter lack of accomplishments during his six years is unquestionable. He despises the unions, has sheer disdain for the taxpayers, pure contempt for the legislature and has absolutely nothing substantive to show for his time here.

This must be the last straw. The county legislature, although following Lewis' lead on the Mount View closure, is ultimately responsible to the voters of this community. Sure, Lewis will recommend appealing the decision of the arbitrator, which of course will cost you and I thousands of dollars in legal fees, but this decision will not be overturned. Anyone who follows such proceedings knows this.

It's time to cut bait, boys. You've had this line in the water for six years, and it's simply not working. He is not the one who is accountable to the taxpayers, you are. Start taking responsibility. After all, how much longer are we, the taxpayers, going to have to suffer the indignity of Greg Lewis' costly mistake after mistake?


Niagara Prognosticator said...

How can Lewis be blamed for this? The "Republican led Majority Caucus" ordered Mount View's closure. Lewis tried to negotitate a conversion until the leg pulled the plug. He did what the Leg's ordered. The union contract in question has been in existence for years to Lewis' tenure. How can he be blamed for that?

The biggest cheerleader for closure was Majority Leader Rick Updegrove, himself an attorney. Remember how pained he was to make this "hard decision" because his elderly grandparent resided there?

And what about the County Attorney? As i recall Joerg and Fitzgerald were quite involved in all the details. How come they didn't protect the County?

Niagara County made it's bed long ago with the unions. Lewis could only do what he was ordered and advised to do.

But I guess the real culprits need a scapegoat.

lido said...

I guess this $5 million tab puts a big halt on Lewis plans to spend $42 million on a public works facility. Exactly how much debt can this clown get the taxpayers into?

James T. Kirk said...

Hold on NP, the issue here is not the closure--that itself was allowed by the State of New York, if you recall. The legal right of Niagara County to close the Mount View facility was never in question, no matter how much Eddie McDonald and Dennis Virtuoso wish it were.

The issue, rather, is the execution of that process. And the Legislature--the "Republican-led Majority Caucus" you're pointing your little partisan fingers at--had nothing to do with the process by which personnel were terminated. That was left entirely to County Manager Greg Lewis and County HR Director Peter Lopes.

If this binding arbitration holds, and the taxpayers of Niagara County are on the hook for millions of dollars, then Mr. Lewis and Mr. Lopes must be dismissed.

Jed Eckert said...

It's time for Lewis to go. The closure of Mount View was his idea--it's what he had experience doing elsewhere. The Legislature went along with it.

As Mr. Kirk said, Peter Lopez and Lewis had the responsibility for making sure layoffs were done right. They didn't. Instead, they screwed the whole process up, and now we're going to pay for their incompetence.

Please fire this idiot. And send Lopez back where he came from too.

Niagara Prognosticator said...

The closure of Mt. view was NOT Lewis' idea. The original Democratic idea was to rehab convert MV to an assisted living facility.

Lewis attempted to get it done.

Bit the legislature changed hands and the Republicans ordered a change in direction. Negotiations with the unions were used simply as ruse to justify closure when the unions wouldn't back down from their ace in the hole, the AFSCME contract. A point, as it turns out, that an arbitrator ruled they were right about all along.

Now I am sure that Lewis was involved in the strategy discussions, but it was indeed the Legislature that made the call. Unless you believe that lewis is all powerful and able to manipulate the Majority Caucus.

As far as his experience, yes, it has been reported that he had overseen the closure of a senior home somewhere in his travels. And for some Majority Caucus I will bet that this was a major consideration when they voted unanimously to hire him.

But the Democrats counted on him using his skills to convert and keep MV open. And the workers working.

Now, thanks' to Updegrove, etc, upon the sound advice of Mickey Sloma, the taxpayers are saddled with a huge liability that probably would have been better spent on fixing MV and keeping a couple hundred workers working and off the unemployment and welfare roles.

Perhaps the IDA can bail out the County?

Paladin said...

Whatever, Dennis.

Jed Eckert said...

You know, it's occurred to me, reading this comment thread: So what? I mean, Lewis' ineptitude aside, no other employer would be saddled with such ridiculous demands as We, the Taxpayers. We decided to get rid of a unit of our business that was losing more than $1M a year. And now, we're facing, thanks to New York's hostile, pro-union, public sector laws--the Taylor Law and the like--an arbitrator telling us we HAVE TO keep certain people employed.


You know, out in the private sector, people lose their jobs when their companies are poorly run. Apparently, not so in the public sector--even when the bosses, Us, the Taxpayers, try to cut bait.

Lewis is a disaster. But so is New York State.