BUFFALO, NY (WKBW-TV)
Mayor Byron Brown has just released this statement regarding Karla Thomas:
As mandated by the Buffalo City Charter and New York State Civil Service Law, on September 2, 2010 Karla Thomas, Commissioner of Human Resources, was served with a Notice of Charges for Termination and Hearing. This action was based on evidence that as Commissioner of Human Resources, Ms. Thomas failed to follow through on a specific directive I made to her on January 11, 2010, which subsequently cost the taxpayers of the City of Buffalo $839,688.18 in insurance premiums that the city paid for individuals that were not entitled to them and cannot be recovered by the city.
As required by law, Ms. Thomas was afforded an opportunity to be heard at a public hearing. The hearing took place over the course of eight days in September, October and November. The last hearing date was November 9, 2010.
Throughout the hearing process, Ms. Thomas and her counsel were afforded the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence on her behalf as well as the opportunity to cross examine witnesses and respond to evidence presented by the City of Buffalo.
Following the final hearing date, the hearing officer Michael A. Battle, Esq. received proposed findings of fact and memoranda of law in support of both party’s respective positions. Mr. Battle issued a Report and Recommendation to me dated January 7, 2011 stating that “Ms. Thomas did not adequately perform her duties as Commissioner of Human Resources…she failed to ensure that all the Divisions in her Department operated properly. Ms. Thomas’s failure to perform her duties constitutes ‘inadequate performance or other cause’ that justifies the Mayor in imposing any lawful penalty, up to and including removing Ms. Thomas from the position of Human Resources….”
Following my review of the voluminous hearing transcripts and Mr. Battle’s Report and Recommendation, I have today terminated Karla Thomas for inadequate performance from the position of Commissioner of Human Resources for the City of Buffalo. The termination of employment takes effect immediately.
Ms. Thomas and her attorney were served earlier today with my written decision for termination.