As Chief of Staff to the Buffalo Common Council from 2004-2008, I dealt with Tim Wanamaker in his capacity as the chief economic development officer for the City of Buffalo.

Wanamaker was not the most personable guy and he was always out of town attending conferences, but he appeared to be a guy who was interested in doing the right thing rather than the political thing. I admired at times how he stood his ground and told Councilmembers no to their seemingly never ending requests to spend money.

I was surprised to learn yesterday that Wanamaker pled guilty in federal court to improperly using a City Hall credit card to pay for $30,000 in personal expenses over a four year period.

I am all in favor of networking and making contacts to assist the City of Buffalo, but 38 out of town trips over a 23 month period was excessive. I will never understand how intelligent people risk their careers and freedom over such small sums of money.

When I was interested in attending a National League of Cities conference, the only way I was able to attend was to win a scholarship based on an essay I wrote as to why I wanted to attend.

When I started as Chief of Staff, I was surprised to learn that my parking was paid for by the City. I did not feel comfortable with the City paying for my parking and asked that they stop doing so. The look on people’s faces when I stated I did not want the City paying for my parking was priceless, as people could not understand why I would have an objection.

Interestingly when I left City Hall, my successor had the City pay for his parking and also got a reserved spot in the parking ramp where Councilmembers park.

I guess Wanamaker is the latest to fall due to his own sense of self importance and entitlement. As it appears Wanamaker may have knowledge of other wrong doings in City Hall it will be interesting to see who falls next.

What do you think?

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