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Former State Senator, Antoine Thompson Hired By City of Buffalo

11:13 PM, Dec 10, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - Former New York State Senator Antoine Thompson has been named the executive director of the Buffalo Employment and Training Center, according to a post on Thompson's facebook page. 

Here is the full text from Thompson's facebook post:

On Monday I begin a new journey as the Executive Director of the Buffalo Employment and Training Center at 77 Goodell Street, Buffalo. I will play a critical role in helping people of Buffalo get jobs!!!! I will supervise over 30 employees and support Mayor Brown and the City of Buffalo and other key public, private, faith, and community sector leaders in assisting people with job training and placement.

Thompson has worked as a realtor since he failed to be re-elected to his state senate seat in November 2010 .

When pressed about his qualifications for the job, Thompson told Jim Heaney of the Investigative Post that he was qualified based on past experience with labor and employment issues and his government experience. But Heaney also raised his strong political ties to Mayor Brown.  Thompson and Brown are both members of the Grassroots political organization and Thompson succeeded Brown in office on both City Council and in the State Senate.

Heaney asked "What do you say to people who say this is really a blatent political patronage hire ?" Thompson responded "I would disagree. At the end of the day, I sat on the board that overseas this operation. Heaney also asked "But there are certainly people out there that have much stronger qualifications ? Thompson responds - That's open to your interpretation." Thompson also said he did not know if the job was advertised but did say he was contacted by the Mayor about the opening.     

2 On Your Side did speak with Mayor Brown about the hiring decision. He would not provide specifics on how many people were interviewed or discuss the hiring process. He did say that Thompson is qualified because of his past government experience and connections with the state Labor Department and workforce training councils.      

The Buffalo Employment and Training Center is located at 77 Goodell Street. The previous director retired several months ago.  The BETC is funded through the state and various government sources. The director's position is not subject to City Council oversight so the mayor can just make this appointment.

Mike DeGeorge, spokesperson for Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, says Thompson's salary in his new post will be $79,000 a year. Ironically that is almost the same base salary that Thompson made as a state lawmaker.

WGRZ/ Facebook/ investigative post

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