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Siebert steps down as WROTB director, calls Albany action 'a blatant move to take over jobs'

By Mike Pettinella

Batavian Dick Siebert, longtime director of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., said today that he is stepping down as Genesee County's representative on the public benefit corporation's board.

Speaking on WBTA Radio, Siebert issued the following statement:

"I've been told that when the governor signs the budget today, I will be fired by people other than people who appointed me -- the county legislature 29 years ago. Quite frankly, I thought I would be fired or terminated by the board that appointed me but I'm hearing that I will be terminated. All 17 of us will be terminated and there will be new appointments to be made for directors representing Batavia Downs.

"I've never been fired a day in my life for any job I've ever done. So, rather than being fired by someone that I don't even work for, I've chosen, after 29 years, to notify my chairman and OTB Chairman Bianchi that I am resigning as of today. And so, it ends my career of 29 years of Batavia Downs.

"... and I point I would also make is that this isn't about the distribution of money. This is about distribution and who appoints jobs. We have five department heads; we have 14 department heads, and we have several people that are not union. So, this is a question of who makes the appointments. It's been the board that we have now.

"It will strictly be by weighted vote, and it'd be by the Democrats in Erie and Monroe County and cities that control all the vote. It's a blatant effort to take over the jobs that we have at Batavia Downs that are appointed by their merit and not by political affiliation.

"I'm worried about all of our employees that happen to be Republicans up there right now, quite frankly."

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