Mayor Brown Fires City HR Commissioner

September 2, 2010 Updated Sep 2, 2010 at 4:05 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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Mayor Brown Fires City HR Commissioner

September 2, 2010 Updated Sep 2, 2010 at 4:05 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has fired the city's Human Resources Commissioner Karla Thomas following a call for her removal by city councilmember Joseph Golombek.

Thomas' firing comes after it was discovered the city paid benefits to deceased former city employees.

North District Councilmember Joseph Golombek filed a resolution Thursday morning with the Buffalo Common Council calling for Thomas' removal, stating, "Our job is to protect the taxpayers of our city and the Commissioner failed miserably to protect the hardworking citizens of Buffalo and, in fact, may have cost them missions of dollars by paying health benefits to dead people."

Golombek cited the recent audit by the city comptroller that revealed the city's Human Resources Department paid $2.7 million in health insurance benefits for more than 150 deceased former city employees.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown was made aware of a potential problem back in January, and instructed department heads, including HR Commissioner Karla Thomas, to take actions to correct the issue.

According to the Mayor's office, the Human Resources Department is responsible for subscribing to monthly death reports that would help to avoid situations where the city could be paying benefits to deceased former employees.

Thomas had also recently come under fire for the so-called 'national search' for Buffalo's Police Commissioner. Daniel Derenda was eventually named to that position.

Mayor Brown is holding a press conference at Buffalo City Hall Thursday afternoon addressing the recent firing.