Tim Healy has worked in West Seneca’s Highway Department for 14 years, but it’s in the last several months that he has been making an aggressive — and, at times, illegal — play for the office of Highway Superintendent.
In late February of this year, Healy illegally obtained sealed custody records from a Town police officer, Sean Donovan. The sealed records related to his opponent, the endorsed Democrat, Tommy Reese.
Healy showed those records to a dozen or so people, including several members of the West Seneca Democratic Committee. The documents are rumored to have contained personal information relating to the mother of his son. Reese has residential custody of his son.
Officer Donovan has since been demoted, with a substantial pay cut — but Healy has not yet been arrested, largely because of his continued refusal to speak with police investigating the incident.
Reese is a 28-year employee of the Town’s highway department and ran for office without party backing in the last election cycle, and garnered more than 42% of the vote. When he asked the Town’s Democratic Committee for its endorsement this year, he wasn’t expected to get it because he is considered something of a political outsider.
Charismatic and well-qualified, Reese performed well in the endorsement meeting. With his 28 years of experience and ideas on how to better manage the department, the Committee was persuaded to endorse Reese.
Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner was shocked by the development. Zellner had wanted the Committee to endorse Healy, a headquarters loyalist who is far more doting in his posture — and, presumably, less likely to question the Town’s suspiciously high billings for salt, long suspected to be the object of local political graft.
Healy and Democratic Town Chairman Tim Elling obtained the sealed records not long after the endorsement meeting. They destroyed those records and refused to testify to the police or local news outlets. The detective investigating the case closed it quickly, claiming that “no copies are known to exist.”
Zellner has been helping Healy fund raise.
Had the police been able to establish a chain of evidence, those involved could have been subject to a slew of charges: computer trespassing; unlawful duplication of computer-related material; criminal possession of computer related material; and corrupt use of position and authority.
Observers of Town politics suspect that several members of the Democratic Committee could have been charged under those laws, and several high profile civic leaders have been calling for the investigation to be reopened.
The Democratic Party primary for Superintendent is scheduled for June 25th. Reese has also been endorsed by the Working Families Party.