Tobe declined to comment Wednesday when I asked him whether he was on his way out as the city's commissioner of economic development, permits and inspection services. "No comments" in situations like this often means there's something up.
"Tobe is on the way out the door," said developer Carl Paladino. "They don't want to admit it, but he is."
Paladino isn't exactly on the "ins" with the Brown administration -- he openly loathes it -- but he's in the development business. Someone who is close to Tobe, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, said he's hearing the same thing.
Tobe was a part of Dennis Gorski's inner circle during his tenure as county executive. He later served on the city Control Board until being hired by Brown in early 2006. He was originally part of the Brown inner-circle as well, but that is in the past tense.
"I understand he's been marginalized, his role has been diminished," Hoyt said. "If that's the case, I find it highly unfortunate because there is no person in local government who is more honest, who is more hard working, who is smarter, than Rich Tobe."
Tobe's departure would make Brian Reilly the city's undisputed economic development chief. He was hired earlier this year after Tim Wanamaker, who shared development duties with Tobe, left for a job in California.