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T.I. Bridge Authority executive director cleared of accusations of misconduct, bullying

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COLLINS LANDING — A three-month investigation into the executive director of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority found “no credible evidence” of alleged misconduct or bullying.

Robert V.R. Barnard, the authority’s chairman, said he and the authority’s board were “100 percent” supportive of Robert G. Horr III given the results.

The authority revealed the results of its inquiry of Mr. Horr on Wednesday as it met for its monthly meeting.

Though no sanctions were levied against Mr. Horr, the board passed a resolution calling for changes to vacation and performance review filing policies in the wake of the review. Those changes will be taken up by the authority at its meeting in August.

Allegations against Mr. Horr were leveled in April by Jeffrey J. Timerman, the authority’s former finance and business administration manager, as he retired from the position.

Mr. Timerman, handed a copy of the authority’s report of the investigation at the close of the meeting, said he would have to read the report before commenting on its specifics. However, he said that the authority’s selection of Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, which it has hired for work in the past, left him “not surprised” with the outcome.

“Between them and the board, they didn’t want to see these allegations come true,” Mr. Timerman said.

Mr. Barnard said that the firm is used solely for specialty work, and that in the course of the firm’s investigation “we gathered all the information we needed.”

The need for the authority’s leadership to update certain policies, Mr. Timerman said, showed that his complaints had an impact.

The report given to Mr. Timerman, obtained by the Times, showed his various points of contention against the authority and Mr. Horr struck down by the legal firm and its counsel, Thomas G. Eron. Mr. Barnard and the authority’s secretary-treasurer, Micheline Dube, also were appointed to assist with the investigation and the evaluation of material.

As one example, the alleged incidents of bullying by Mr. Horr to Mr. Timerman were described as either “inconsequential incidents” or the “exercise of management discretion for legitimate purposes.” A separate accusation of an improper $5,000 check to Commercial Insurance Consultants Inc. in September 2012 found the check to be appropriate.

The report did acknowledge faults with Mr. Horr in self-reporting vacation time. However, the executive director explained the problems were a result of the overlap of his duties and vacation time, including the travel required by Mr. Horr as president of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. The report said that international role and its subsequent travel were encouraged by the authority.

The report recommended that a policy be set for Mr. Horr to outline his vacation time to the authority’s chairman or vice chairman, to create a procedure for Mr. Horr to log his hours and for the authority to determine whether his work and vacation hours should be self-recorded.

The accusation from Mr. Timerman that he had not received a performance review in seven years was verified, with Mr. Horr explaining that his direct contact with workers gave him “significant information” of their performance, replacing a filed review. The report’s authors disagreed, recommending that Mr. Horr file formal written evaluations.

The report disagreed with Mr. Timerman’s allegation of unfair wages, which was based on learning that the salary of his replacement, Timothy S. Sturick, was $11,000 higher than his own. However, it was stated that the disparity was due to Mr. Sturick’s additional job responsibilities, in addition to his qualification as a licensed certified public accountant, a certification Mr. Timerman does not have.

Immediately after the meeting’s conclusion, the authority’s board, including Mr. Horr, went out to take a group portrait in front of the bridge.

“We’re a big family,” Mr. Barnard said. “It’s a great place to work.”

A copy of the authority’s report to Mr. Timerman can be found at http://wdt.me/timerman-report.

Investigation into complaints against Thousand Island Bridge Authority

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