Northern New York Newspapers
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Sun., Oct. 4
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Thousand Islands Bridge Authority board looks into abuse of power allegations


WATERTOWN — Members of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority board are looking into allegations of bullying and financial shenanigans lodged against Executive Director Robert G. Horr III by a former employee.

Jeffrey J. Timerman, former manager of finance and business administration at the authority, surprised board members with an abrupt retirement announcement during the board’s April meeting. Mr. Timerman said he endured severe mental stress and bullying at the hands of Mr. Horr. He also had proof of fraud, cronyism, personal gain, reckless spending, aspects of a “shadow government” and other abuses of power, he said.

Mr. Timerman met on Monday with several TIBA board members — Robert V.R. Barnard, chairman; Micheline Dube, secretary-treasurer; and Thomas G. Eron, an attorney for the board — at the offices of Schwerzmann & Wise P.C., 137 Main Ave.

“From the meeting, we have a number of items we need to check out,” said Mr. Barnard, who spoke by phone as he conducted interviews and examined records at the TIBA offices at the Thousand Islands Bridge, Collins Landing.

Mr. Barnard said he spoke with employees about their dealings with Mr. Horr and Mr. Timerman, and would return Thursday for further interviews. The board will report its findings later this month, Mr. Barnard said.

So far, he has found no confirmation of Mr. Timerman’s claims, he said.

If Mr. Timerman is not satisfied with the board’s findings, Mr. Barnard said, the board could conduct an external investigation.

One of Mr. Timerman’s claims that the board takes seriously is the allegation that the board violated the state’s Open Meetings Law when it gathered for lunch before its monthly public meetings. Over sandwiches and salads, the board typically would discuss the executive director’s letter with updates about the authority’s activities since the last meeting, according to Mr. Horr.

Robert J. Freeman, executive director of New York state’s Committee on Open Government, said that if a quorum of directors attended at the lunch gathering and board business was discussed, the meeting would be subject to the Open Meetings Law.

“We’re going to address that at our next meeting, whether we should meet at that point,” Mr. Barnard said.

The TIBA board is appointed by the Jefferson County Board of Legislators and is composed of four U.S. and three Canadian citizens. Its next meeting is May 22.

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