Mayor Testifies at Karla Thomas' Termination Hearing

November 5, 2010 Updated Nov 5, 2010 at 3:20 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

...
November 5, 2010 Updated Nov 5, 2010 at 3:20 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The termination hearings for embattled Buffalo Human Resources Commissioner Karla Thomas continued Friday, with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown being sworn in to testify.

As a man in a kangaroo suit paced outside of City Hall holding a sign reading, "Kangaroo Court. Room 209,' Mayor Brown was asked about the audit that revealed the city had been paying benefits for former employees who are deceased.

Mayor Brown conceded that most of the issues in the HR department preceded Thomas' hiring, however he continued to testify that he issued a directive in January to address the issue.

Mayor Brown, holding a copy of the memorandum in his hands, testified that he directed the Human Resources Department to subscribe to death data rolls from the Social Security Administration to ensure the city would not continue to pay benefits to deceased former employees.

As Brown continued to testify about a discussion he had with Thomas regarding the importance of the issue, Thomas abruptly interrupted the mayor, telling him, "You should be ashamed of yourself."

The mayor dismissed Thomas back in September after it was discovered the Human Resources Department never subscribed to the death lists, subsequently leading to the payment of health benefits to 80 families that were not eligible for it.

The city charter entitles the commissioner to a hearing that is open to the public.

Laura Gray will have more on Friday's hearings beginning at 5pm.