Articles for Geoff Kelly

Dec 12

2023

City worker in paid leave limbo

Two years ago, a dispatcher in the city’s water department complained to his supervisors about work conditions at the pumping station on Porter Avenue. His computer didn’t work properly, often compelling him to do the same data-entry work twice, Rashimee Wilson wrote in an email to his bosses, including then Public Works Commissioner Mike Finn.  Worse, he wrote, he wasn’t allowed to leave his post for meal breaks, not even when he was asked to work two eight-hour shifts in a row.  Further, Wilson claimed, the department’s seniority system granted privileges and accommodations to white employees that were denied to[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Dec 6

2023

City employee retires after years on paid suspension

The Buffalo Fire Department clerk who spent seven and a half years on paid leave — costing taxpayers nearly $600,000 for no work — has retired. Officially, Jill Repman’s last day on the job was Nov. 30, according to the Office of the State Comptroller.  In reality, she hasn’t done a lick of work for the fire department since accused of wrongdoing in January 2016 and suspended with pay. Even after being ordered back to work in September, Repman used vacation days and other paid time off to avoid coming to work before filing for retirement. It’s been nearly eight[...]

Posted 7 months ago

Nov 28

2023

Spending more on settlements than services

The City of Buffalo will borrow $43 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a woman rendered a quadriplegic after a police officer hit her with his patrol car more than three years ago. It is the largest payout for a personal injury lawsuit in the city’s history. The city’s top attorney called it “unprecedented.” A city lawmaker called it “catastrophic.” With interest, the total cost of the settlement could approach $50 million, based on current lending rates for municipal bonds, adding nearly $10 million to the city’s annual debt service over each of the next five years.  That’s an[...]

Posted 7 months ago

Nov 20

2023

Another claim of misconduct by Buffalo police

After spending a month in the hospital, a Black Rock man shot by Buffalo police filed a notice of claim against the city Monday, typically precursor to a lawsuit. Jon Battison, 36, was holding a pellet rifle to his own chin in the attic of his home on Tonawanda Street when Officer Kereem Johnson pulled the trigger eight times. One round found the mark, striking Battison near the shoulder.  Police went to the home on Sept. 23 because Battison was reportedly suicidal and had ingested pills. “Suicide by cop,” Battison told police as he lay wounded in the attic of[...]

Posted 7 months ago

Nov 14

2023

Kennedy has long been spending like a candidate for Higgins seat

State Sen. Tim Kennedy’s name wasn’t on the ballot last week, but he’s been spending campaign money this year like a man running for something. In the first six months of this year, Kennedy’s state Senate campaign committee doled out $426,000, mostly on consultants and political contributions.  That’s $64,000 more than Kennedy spent in the same period in 2022, the last time he was up for reelection.  It’s twice what he spent in the same time frame in 2020, when his name was on the ballot. And it’s nearly 10 times the amount Kennedy’s Democratic colleague, state Sen. Sean Ryan,[...]

Posted 7 months ago

Nov 8

2023

Poloncarz wins big; mixed bag for parties in town races

Election Day was good to Erie County Democrats, especially in the top-ticket races. In the year’s marquee race, Mark Poloncarz beat Republican Chrissy Casilio by a resounding 18 points, winning an unprecedented fourth term as Erie County executive. And Democrats preserved their 7-to-4 majority in the Erie County Legislature, as incumbents in three competitive districts handily fended off Republican and Conservative challengers. In town and village elections, however, the results had a more purplish hue, as Democrats and Republicans alike made gains in areas that once were single-party fiefdoms. “In the suburbs, the towns that are flipping are continuing to[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Oct 24

2023

Mayor’s half-baked paid leave report

Last month, Mayor Byron Brown promised his administration would begin issuing “a comprehensive report encompassing all employees on paid leave” for each biweekly pay period. Investigative Post obtained a copy of the first such report last Thursday, a week after it was distributed to department heads on Oct. 12.  It is hardly comprehensive. The report indicates more than 1,400 city employees across 15 departments — about half the city workforce — took some sort of paid leave during the pay period covering the last two weeks of September. The report identifies the employees by name and department, and identifies the[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Oct 10

2023

Fire clerk still not working, but getting paid

Jill Repman was called back to her job with the Buffalo Fire Department last month after seven and a half years on paid leave that cost taxpayers nearly $600,000. She immediately went on vacation, according to city payroll records.  Repman used four days of her accumulated vacation time to extend the paid Labor Day holiday to a full week. The following Monday, she called in sick.  Then she took a couple personal days, followed by another sick day, followed by another personal day. All told, Repman — formerly known by her married name, Parisi — didn’t work a single day[...]

Posted 9 months ago
Investigative Post

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