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Erie County Water Authority Commissioner Resigns

11:53 PM, Nov 6, 2013   |    comments
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Buffalo, N.Y. - One of  the three commissioners who run the Erie County Water Authority has resigned after less than nine months of the job.

Chris O'Brien, an Amherst attorney, was appointed by the county legislature as a commissioner back in February.

O'Brien was a big financial supporter of Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner.

When he was appointed, O'Brien had hoped to move the authority to operate in a more professional and less political manner. 

For years, 2 On Your Side's Scott Brown has reported on how the politically well-connected get jobs at the Authority.

In his resignation letter O'Brien said that "given the demands of the Authority on my time and my priorities of my (law) firm and my family, I believe that stepping away now was the right choice for me."

But a source close to O'Brien tells Scott Brown that O'Brien quickly became disillusioned by the politics that permeates the authority.

A case in point came a few months ago involving the sister-in-law of Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy.

The woman, Amy Garcia had been given a job as a secretary at the authority.

She then failed to pass her civil service test and was given a job as a messenger at the Authority.

O'Brien was the only one of the three commissioners to vote against the move.

The source close to O'Brien tells Scott Brown that O'Brien no longer wanted to be associated with the political goings on at the Authority that he felt was affecting his integrity and reputation.

The chairwoman of the legislature, Betty Jean Grant says the legislature will now seek resumes to replace O'Brien to fill out the more than two years left on his term.

Traditionally, legislators have followed the recommendation of the party chairmen when it comes to naming commissioners to serve three year terms.

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