© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fired city commissioner rakes in unemployment pay

Human Resources commissioner Karla Thomas
WBFO News file photo
Human Resources commissioner Karla Thomas

By Eileen Buckley


Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown tells WBFO News that disciplinary action has been taken against a city human resource employee for failing to monitor unemployment benefit payments to the city's former Human Resources Commissioner.

Karla Thomas was fired from her city post in January. But she's been collecting $405 a week in unemployment benefits since her termination. That is the maximum allowed by law.

However, Thomas's eligibility for jobless benefits was never challenged by the Brown Administration, despite the fact that the city spent more than $200,000 on hearings held to prove her incompetence.

The Mayor said he was furious when he learned of the payments.

"I'm not happy about it. It should not have occurred. It was certainly very frustrating when I learned about this yesterday. We took immediate action," said Mayor Brown.

The city has taken disciplinary action of the human resource employee that allowed the payments to go to Thomas.

"The employee has been suspended, without pay, indefinitely and we have also asked the law department to reach out to the Department of Labor to get these unemployment benefits stopped," said Brown.

Brown has also directed city attorneys to explore whether the city can be reimbursed.

The city must ultimately cover those benefits.