Water Authority Dodges Questions About Hiring Relative Of GOP Chairman

7:06 PM, Aug 8, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - For years now, 2 On Your Side has been reporting on how the politically well-connected wind up with plum patronage jobs at the Erie County Water Authority.

A few weeks ago, in the latest example, 2 On Your Side reported that the sister-in-law of Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy landed a $37,500 job as a messenger after failing a civil service test.

Since that report aired, 2 On Your Side has been trying to talk with the three commissioners who run the Authority about that hire, and the three messenger jobs it has.

On Thursday, the Authority held its first regularly-scheduled board meeting since our reports aired.

Scott Brown went to the meeting to try and get answers to our questions.

As has been the case in the past, we told the authority's PR person that we wanted to ask questions of the commissioners after the meeting.

In this case, the questions revolved around how a woman named Amy Garcia, the sister-in-law of Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy, was recently given that messenger's job.

Garcia was given the job after she failed to pass a civil service test for a $55,000 job she was given at the authority last year, secretary to the executive director.

The description of the messenger job from the county's personnel department says typical work activities are "delivers and picks up mail, payrolls, messages, papers supplies and equipment to and from county departments."

As Thursday's board meeting broke up, the three commissioners hurried out of the room.

We then again asked the PR person to speak with them, but he told us the commissioners were not available to answer our questions despite the fact that all three of them were now sitting in their offices just down the hall.

We then asked the PR person if he would answer our questions, but he said he was not authorized to do so.

The PR person called us about three hours later to say the commissioners had now said it was OK for him to answer our questions.

But we here at 2 On Your Side felt it was important that on behalf of water authority rate payers, we be able to ask the commissioners directly about their hiring practices and why the authority needs to have three messengers on staff.

The PR person said he would pass along that message to the commissioners, but no one ever called us back.

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