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Thomas Smith: Protecting Our Parks from the Board of Elections

Thomas Smith has been with Byron Brown since Brown’s tenure in Albany as a state senator. When Brown became mayor, Smith followed. Until recently his title was “Quality of Life Program Manager,” and his $54,000 salary was paid by the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency. Now he’s been made director of parks and recreation within the city’s resurrected parks department. His appointment to that $66,092/year position was approved by the Common Council on Tuesday, September 21.

Pity Smith couldn’t be there. He spent most of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the Erie County Board of Elections, working with the mayor’s team to review the results of last week’s primary races.

I sent a couple emails to Smith’s new boss, Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Andrew Rabb, to ascertain whether Smith had taken time off from his new job to do this political work. Rabb has not replied. That’s not a surprise: Rabb is new to his position, too, and I’m sure it’s been impressed on him that he’s not to speak to the press without permission from the mayor’s office.

However, I’m told that at some point yesterday, Smith arrived at the BOE to join the crew of folks from the Democratic Party’s various divisions who are monitoring the recounts and scouring the results for omens. (And yes, I know, most of those folks have public and private sector jobs, too.) Smith saw a handful of operatives for the mayor’s opposition  and said words to the effect of, “Just so you know, I’m off the clock.”

He wanted them all to know that, he said, because Artvoice had been emailing his boss with questions.

UPDATE: No sooner had I posted this than I got a response to my inquiries from Peter Cutler, the mayor’s communications director: “Mr. Smith requested personal time off from his supervisor and was granted that request, including the days you identified in your email.”