Niagara Gazette

Opinion

December 12, 2012

GLYNN: Thompson appointment stirs anger

Niagara Gazette — Former state Sen. Antoine Thompson's appointment to that key post in Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown's administration is a blatant example of political cronyism.

It proves if you cultivate enough contacts there's always a job around the corner, even feeding at the public trough. Brown has named Thompson, 42, as executive director of the Buffalo Employment and Training Center. In his new job, for which he has virtually no qualifications, he will receive a salary of $79, 757, close to a state legislator's annual pay. 

It's important to note the agency that Thompson heads has the responsibility of working with job applicants to match them with potential employers. Such a role would obviously require someone with significant experience in human resources, hiring and recruiting. Thompson most recently has worked as a real estate agent when he wasn't scurrying around to fundraisers and political rallies.

In case you may have forgotten,Thompson at one time represented the state's 60th Senate district which then included the city of Niagara Falls and the town of Grand Island and parts of Buffalo and Tonawanda. After Brown, then a senator, left Albany to serve as the Buffalo mayor, Thompson was urged to pursue that Senate vacancy in the special election of Feb. 28, 2006. Both the Niagara County and Erie County Democratic committees refused to endorse him for the nomination. When that happened, the short-tempered Thompson threatened the party that he would challenge U.S. Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, a Democrat n the 28th District, which then included the Niagara area. Viewing Slaughter's would-be opponent as a lightweight, Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Len Lenihan said Thompson needed to enroll in a Dale Carnegie course on how to win friends and influence people.

Subsequently, Thompson lost the special election for the Senate vacancy to Marc Coppola but won the Democratic primary and the general election in 2006 when Coppola ended up running as an Independent. Thompson served in the Senate from 2007 to 2011.

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