Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weekend Funday: Vito Fossella Defense Edition

Soon to be former Staten Island Congressman and well-known adulterer and drunk driver Vito Fossella (NY-13) may have the perfect defense for blowing a .17 BAC courtesy of Gianna Vigliotti.
Miss Vigliotti was nabbed in Nassau County for a DWI over the holiday weekend and her mugshot appeared in Newsday. She blew a .15 BAC.
When pulled over, Vigliotti told police "
I didn't drink! I was kissing a boy who was drunk."
Fossella can just say he was kissing a boy who was.... oh wait.
Forget it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

FOX News Host and Massapequa Resident Brian Kilmeade Hates the Troops

What a piece of work this guy is. He says that today's soldiers fighting in Iraq don't deserve a GI Bill with a college education. Hat-Tip to Crooks and Liars for this:

Kilmeade: "After all this is different. People point to, “Well, look what they did after World War II.” Well, after World War II, people were conscripted. They said “You’re joining.” They said for doing that and winning the war, here’s a college education. Now people are saying “I want to be a military person. I am signing on in a volunteer force.”

Watch the video of this fake news scumbag.

What Happend to South Farmingdale Water Commissioner Kurt Ludwig?

Six months after winning election to the South Farmingdale Water District (he was appointed a year before that) Kurt Ludwig has resigned as Commissioner.
No notice on the website or in the mailed newsletter. His name just disappeared. When asked, the person who answered the phone at the main office said he resigned within the last month. Why? She didn't know.
You might remember the story we broke here about Ludwig using the taxpayer funded Newsletter as a campaign mailing. Although he and the other commissioners claimed they did nothing wrong, they still had to pay the district $1000 as a reimbursement.
Ludwig is an executive board member of the North Massapequa Republican Club and works for Supervisor John Venditto. The position with the Water District for a young up and comer was a natural. When a Town Board seat opens up, Ludwig can slide right in claiming the Water District as experience.
Why would he resign?
He was clearly being set up for bigger things.
Did the newsletter issue taint his prospects? It's tough to run with a court ruling against you.
If he was 86'd so Venditto can appoint someone else with better prospects, what does Ludwig get?
Will Ludwig get a higher position and more money from the Town of Oyster Bay?
And who gets the job as Commissioner? The position is filled by appointment to run out the rest of Ludwigs term.
I also wonder why the resignation was not announced or at least mentioned on the District website. One day Ludwig gets praised as he did in the campaign mailing "It would be an understatement to say that Kurt Ludwig, SFWD Water Commissioner, hit the ground running during his first year in office. To us, it’s more like he crossed the finish line in first place! By every standard, Kurt has proven himself to be the right man for the right job, and an excellent asset to our organization, now and into the future.
Congratulations Kurt, on a great first year. We wish you many more!" and the next day he is gone.

Somebody Get Dean Skelos a WHAAAAAAAAmulance; or a Fact Checker

Newsday's Spincycle catches Skelos getting it all wrong. Skelos whines "There’s no question that Newsday dominates... To get a story out, you need to get it in Newsday,” and that has become harder with the newspaper’s cutbacks, he said."

Spincycle goes on to point out that "Actually, Skelos' name has appeared 182 times in Newsday in the past year -- and in a neighboring district, Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) has appeared 71 times."


So that's an average of 3 times a week for Skelos and one for Hannon.
Must be real tough on them.
Of course Skelos is an expert photo-op guy so his face is in the weekly locals all the time multiple times.
Who is Skelos trying to kid?

Donno (SD-7) was President of Manhasset School Board: Comptroller Audit Finds Lots of Problems

The scandals rocking Long Island School Districts expose the lack of oversight and financial controls that our tax dollars deserve. Donno was president of the Manhasset School Board and this has been cited by her and recently by Conservative Party boss Roger Bogsted as a positive for Donno. Reading the Comptrollers report doesn't make being on the Manhasset School Board, much less President a good thing.
To quote Donno "Above all else, I believe that taxpayers must receive value for their precious tax dollars."

And here is information from the Comptrollers Audit covering the years Donno was Board member and President.
"District officials did not ensure that capital assets are protected from loss by ensuring that the Board’s adopted Capital Assets Accounting Policy was strictly adhered to. We found numerous significant deficiencies in capital asset records. There was no comprehensive control account of capital assets maintained; District officials relied instead on their independent auditors to prepare a summary of them for reporting purposes. District assets were often not tagged as District property, the location of District assets could not be determined from available inventory records and disposed assets were still included in inventory records. We attempted to physically view 165 assets listed in the District’s capital asset tracking system. We found that 34 of the assets could not be located (including computers, cameras and other electronic equipment), nine assets did not have a school identification number affixed, five assets were found in a different location than listed and 14 items had identification numbers different than those included in the system. As a result, District officials had diminished control over disposable capital assets. The District also did not maintain any inventory records nor perform periodic physical counts for inventories of consumable items such as auto parts and cafeteria foods."

Wait, there's LOTS more...

"The District does not have any formal written policies and procedures prescribing day-to-day, month-end, and year-end procedures relating to: the assignment of duties (who inputs data and generates and/or reviews reports); specific reports that should be generated; the distribution of reports; the report approval process; and expected timeliness for completing tasks."

"Board policy requires that District checks in excess of $2,000 contain two signatures. We found 28 checks written throughout our audit period, totaling more than $321,000, without the required second signature. The release of District checks in excess of $2,000 without the required second signature overrides an intended control that more than one person view larger District disbursements."

"Bank reconciliations were not formally documented; they were simply recorded on adding machine tapes or not documented at all if the bank accounts had no outstanding checks."

Here is the summary of the report.

At best, there was lacksidasical oversight of taxpayers money. At worst, pure malfeasance.

Control of State Senate May Lie in NYC Special Election

A Special Election to fill the seat of disgraced Republican Dennis Gallagher has a role in the fight for control of the New York State Senate. The 30th Council District covering Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Glendale has been in republican hands since the map was re-drawn years ago. The District sits in the very heart of endangered republican State Senator Serf Maltese's district. A win for Democrat Elizabeth Crowley against republican Anthony "Baby Face" Como would seal the deal for the 15th SD.
Como is Maltese's guy and is going to bat for him in this election. Como has a prominent sign on Maltese's campaign office.
Maltese won re-election last time to a complete unknown by about only 850 votes. This year Skelos has said he is willing to commit alot of money to keep Maltese in the senate. Heck, Skelos is giving Maltese $2.441 Million in Members Item funds to campaign with. That's right, your tax dollars are being used as a campaign slush fund to save Maltese's keester.

Maltese is high on the Democrats hit-list this november and a Council seat win for a Democrat in the heart of Maltese's district, defeating his wanna-be successor Como spells the end of Maltese and Skelos gets to be Minority Leader in the State Senate.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Babs Donno Gets Conservative Nod; Making it 2 for 2 for the 7th SD

Babs Donno follows in the footsteps of Maureen O'Connell to get the Nassau County Conservative Party nomination even though they both have reported pro-choice views. O'Connell with the help of the Conservative party lost badly to Craig Johnson last year. Donno is on track to make the 2 for 2 for the C's in the 7th Senate District.
The nod for Babs comes with some caveats "Bogsted said Donno "has a profile that shows she has a good shot to win.." He said "she's not a rank-and-file Republican, so to speak, and has a bit of an independent streak." He cited her record on the local school board, and noted that she'd cut costs as mayor. As to social issues, he said, "she will not vote against Conservative Republican positions" that will come before the chamber surch as parental notification on abortions."

Babs wrote a letter to Chairman Bogsted which we're going to touch on in another post. But to hint at future things, both Donno and Bogsted ought not to hi-lite Donno's school board work.
I'm just saying.
More to come.

Congrats to Kemp Hannon's Guy Chris Bastardi

Chris Bastardi, Director of Public Affairs & Communications for Senator Kemp Hannon and former president of the Nassau Young Republicans is recipient of the 2008 Rising Star Award from the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mondello, Schmitt and Patronage Jobs, Oh My!

Celeste Hadrick writes over at Newsday's Spin Cycle about Chairman Joe's bid to get his son-in law jobs.
"State and Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello denied any involvement in getting his son-in-law a job in 2005 at the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, as reported here last week.
But Mondello acknowledged to Newsday that he did recommend son-in-law Christopher Ostuni to Peter Schmitt, the Nassau legislature’s minority leader, for the vacant position of minority counsel.
Ostuni, 31, started Feb. 8 for a salary of 107,000, officials said. His predecessor, Joseph Nocella, who earned $105,000, left Dec. 7.
“Peter was talking to me and asked if I knew any young bright lawyers that I thought could do the job. I absolutely recommended Chris,” Mondello said. “I like the kid. He’s a very fine lawyer.”
Mondello said his son-in-law, who declined comment, had been Lizza Construction’s in-house counsel after leaving the Waterfront Commission and before joining the county."

The best part is that Mondello got Minority Leader Peter Schmitt to give his son-in-law a County job with a $2,000 increase over the previous person.
This is the SAME EXACT Peter Schmitt who is bitching an moaning about increased spending in the County.
Then again, while he complains about increased spending, Schmitt wants to more than double his own salary.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Senate Candidate Barbara Donno - Trouble in Plandome Manor

Being mayor should be a bonus when running for higher office. Unless of course there are some issues your constituents have with the way you run things. Here are a few things from a website called The site has been around since 2005 so it's not a political setup for the senate race. It's "A Resident’s Perspective."

Using quickly called meetings to hide decisions from public view, the Village has borrowed $500,000 using public bonds for the first time in Village history. In addition to this debt, the newly proposed budget calls for dipping into the reserve fund by $175,000 and increasing taxes 7%.

One example is the Stonytown road construction project. No effort was made to secure CHIPS grants for road improvement or Nassau County grants for improvements in storm drainage.
While around 1/3 of the project involved roads owned by other entities, no efforts were made to share costs with these entities before the project began. As a result, we will be paying for this project in our taxes over the next 5 years.

In 2004, the Village spent $399,235. This year the budget is $1,334,889 with increases proposed for next year. I fail to see how Mayor Donno can cite reducing expenses as an accomplishment."

There are no accomplishments here. We have no less than 4-5 attorneys from 2 separate firms addressing legal issues that should have been settled. Legal fees for the 3 months of October- December 2007 exceeded $81,000. In 2004 our legal fees for the entire year was $22,094. Legal fees are currently the single highest category of expense for this Village. Legal expenses have drastically increased since Mayor Donno moved legal services to a company managed by her friend.

Many residents didn’t know that Mayor Donno moved the village office to the Higgins Law
building (Mayor Donno is a long time friend of the Higgins). This has increased the Village’s monthly expenses. Little was done to work with the Science Museum for more space, and nothing was done with Nassau County to see if any County space could be used inexpensively. We were approached by another Village to share space, and cut costs, but cutting costs are not a priority for this administration. As a result our rent has tripled on a 10 year lease on this space.

Unfortunately, important Village meetings are now ad-hoc, sometimes at the Town of North Hempstead Town Hall, and sometimes at the Science Museum. Residents can’t find meetings because they change location and are poorly announced.

We have outsourced our Village government. Our Village employees no longer need to drive through the Village to see issues. We have lost a great sense of what it means to be a Village."

As someone who supported Barbara Donno in the last election, I feel greatly let down in the past year. Her “Year in Review” letter inaccurately portrays the events of the past year and is a disservice to the residents.

Mayor Donno has moved the Village to space owned by a friend of hers. She is running Tony DeSousa and Mary Lou Diorio, good friends of hers, as candidates for Trustee.

We need Trustees with their own opinions, not ones who were picked by the Mayor to rubber stamp her actions. We need a diverse set of people with different ideas and perspectives to balance a Mayor who seems unable to control spending or accurately describe her own actions to the residents."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Where Does Massapequa School Board Candidate Gary Bennett Live?

School Board elections are supposed to be non-partisan but in the last election and this one, a local elected official is pushing a candidate.
I was sent a link to a site called that provided some interesting information on one of the candidates this year.
Candidate Gary Bennett who has had an interesting back and forth in the letters section of the Massapequa Post has questionable residency and a problem with the truth.
In a flyer distributed in the district, Bennett claims to have been promoted to the position of "Sheriff Investigator." According to a FOIL by the website, there is no such thing as "Sheriff Investigator." And the FOIL shows Bennett is not being truthful about other claims.
More interesting and something that means Bennett shouldn't even be on the ballot is an article from the May 29, 2007 Fire Island News. In that issue, Bennett is a candidate for Ocean Beach Village Board of Trustees "Gary Bennett is another candidate hoping to add diversity to the five member Board of Trustees. Bennett has been a lifetime visitor of Ocean Beach and has recently established his primary residency in the village.

“When you are living here and spending more time here you get a feel for the village and the people,” Bennett said. “I’ve come to love it very much.”

So last year, Bennett changed his primary residence to Ocean Beach so he could run for office. After he lost, Bennett says "I may be the bid looser, but I don't feel like one,” said Bennett at a Board of Trustees meeting the morning after the election. “This election has been a great testament to our Village.”

So now Bennett is a candidate for Massapequa School Board and tells the Massapequan Observer that "The public is being misled by these administrators who are only too glad to take advantage of an ill-informed public and fill their already overloaded pockets."

Who is "misleading " Mr. Bennett?
Why can't you tell the truth about your resume?
Are you a legal resident of Massapeqa, the Town of Oyster Bay and Nassau County?

The Massapequa School District will have a real problem with someone like Bennett on the board.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Craig Johnson Has GOP Challenger and She's Already Stealing His Lines

HUGE Hat-tip to Philip over at The Albany Project for catching this.

Republican challenger and Plandome Manor mayor Barbara Donno is in the race and had this to say "What we see in Albany today makes us all angry," she says via the press release. "As a mom and former elementary school teacher some of the things I see in Albany - from BOTH parties - makes you think some of them would benefit from a 'time-out!"

Now here is Senator Craig Johnson just a few short months ago speaking about Dean Skelos's hissy-fits "Skelos yesterday vowed to win back the 7th. "We've always been known as 'The Long Island Nine,' " he said of the area's GOP senators who now number eight. "We're going to be back as The Long Island Nine and Craig Johnson is not going to be a senator after November."

Johnson shot back, "My response to Dean is what I tell my 3-year-old and my 6-year-old when they are having a temper tantrum, 'Take a timeout.'"

In Barbara Donno's next press release she will assure us that the 'only thing we have to fear is fear itself' and 'Ich bin ein Berliner."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Building Monuments to Yourself with Taxpayer Money

A lack of Humility is a major character flaw. One of the main reasons to get into public service as an elected official is... PUBLIC SERVICE. You're not supposed to be in it for yourself.
The recent hubbub over a school complex in Queens being named after State Senator Frank Padavan (R- Jamaica). It was named after him because he was able to get taxpayer money for the campus. And he accepted the naming.
Here in Nassau County we have Skelos Field.
Yup, that's right. Dean Skelos has a park named after him.
An ounce of humility in Padavan or Skelos would have them say "No thank you. Name the place after someone more deserving. Like a veteran, firefighter or or other local hero."
Just because they got the taxpayer money to pay for the things doesn't mean it should be named after them.
Andrew Stengel and Beth Foster of the Brennan Center for Justice have an op-ed in today's NY Daily News and they cover some of the ethical and legal problems with the namings.
"The state's Public Officers Law is clear on this: Elected officials cannot receive extra compensation or any gift of more than nominal value. Placing someone's name in a prominent place, whether it's an actual building or a tract of land, has monetary value. That's why many ballfields around the country are known by corporate names, like FedEx or Petco. Citibank will reportedly pay $20 million per year to call the new Mets stadium Citi Field.

Naming a school after Padavan appears, at the very least, to violate the spirit of the law, which says that an elected official cannot "solicit, accept or receive any gift having a value of seventy-five dollars or more whether in the form of money, service, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or in any other form ... in the performance of his official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his part."
Worse still, according to the chancellor's regulations, "schools may not be named after living persons." The chancellor and others worked around this rule by arguing - get this - that it doesn't apply to a campus."

"It's all well and good to name property or monuments after beloved elected officials. Who doesn't know somebody who graduated from a Lincoln, Eisenhower or Kennedy public school?
But it's the height of cynicism to dole out naming rights to current officeholders when they direct public money - our money - to pet projects. After all, it is the job of a state representative to serve the district - that's Civics 101. If every sitting legislator's name were affixed to all the fruits of their labor, then their districts would look like giant elected official strip malls.
There's a pretty simple solution here: The state must pass a law that bans naming of any public property after sitting elected officials.
Unless and until that happens, the new Commission on Public Integrity should rule that naming this school (or "campus") after Padavan, especially in the election season, violates the current law. That would serve as a lesson for all and avoid future "ambiguities."

Show some humility Dean and have the park renamed for someone else.

NY Post's Fred Dicker on Lack of Opponent for Sen. Craig Johnson

NY Post Albany reporters Fred Dicker and Brandan Scott discuss the difficulties for republicans to find challengers for the Democrats in the State Senate. Mondello seems to be settling on Plandome Manor Mayor Barbara Donno to lose to Sen. Craig Johnson in November.
Dicker is saying there is a "weakness in the [republican] farm team."
Listen to the audio below.

D'Amato Supporting Fossella - Thinks He Can Win Re-Election

Crooked Al figures Vito can get away with it "Meanwhile, on last night's edition of NY1's "Inside City Hall," former New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato said Fossella may be able to weather this political storm.

"He's not going to resign. He's either going to seek re-election [or not run]," said D'Amato. "And by the way, I don't think it has anything or much to do with winning or losing, but the incredible publicity and strain that will put on him and his family personally. And that is the decision he has to make, and I think that if he runs he can win."

School Attorneys Suing to Get Pension Credits Back

The gall of these people. Trying to wring as much money as they can out of taxpayers, getting caught and now suing AG Cuomo and Comptroller DiNapoli.
It figures that the four unnamed participants in the lawsuit are from Long Island.
From the Albany Times Union "An Albany lawyer is preparing a class-action lawsuit to try to stop Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli from stripping pension credits from lawyers who state officials say don't deserve them."

" While he wouldn't immediately divulge details of his legal strategy or name the initial plaintiffs, Roemer said he's representing four individuals from Long Island who have lost pension credits during the past few weeks.

"We've been working on this project, if you will, for almost a month and we've dubbed it 'Operation Pushback,' " said Roemer who is with the Roemer Wallins & Minneaux. He also is working with members of the DeGraff, Foy and Kunz firm."

"DiNapoli spokeswoman Emily DeSantis predicted the comptroller would withstand any challenge.

"These individuals were not entitled to that service credit because they acted as independent contractors, not employees," she said of those who've lost their credits. "We are confident that our determinations will be upheld."

Roemer has been one of the central characters in the pension controversy. His situation was detailed in a 1997 Times Union story that disclosed how he had accrued $80,240 in annual pension credits for his work as a labor contract negotiator for the cities of Utica, Schenectady and Saratoga Springs, as well as the town of Colonie and Schoharie and Sullivan counties.

By the time Roemer started collecting his pension in 2001, it was worth $119,874 a year, according to state records."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mondello Still Silent on Fossella

Still nothing from State GOP Chairman Joe Mondello about Vito Fossella.
Mondello is quick to jump on Democrats but is suddenly struck mute when one of his own gets in trouble.
Is he maybe trying to figure out how to explain another lost seat?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rob Walker Submits Bill to Help GOP Worker Get Better Pension

The Albany Times-Union has all the gory details....

"A bill advanced by the Senate Rules Committee, controlled by Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and sponsored by Assemblyman Rob Walker, R-Hicksville, would improve Julie A. Cleary's benefits at the expense of New York state's pension fund and her employer, the Nassau County Board of Elections."

"Cleary is the former secretary for Nassau County GOP Chairman Joseph Mondello. In 2006, Bruno helped Mondello become the head of the state party."
"Cleary, who worked for the state Senate from 1998 to 2004, began working for the Nassau County elections commission in 2004, public records show. She is a $107,531-per-year executive assistant to the Republican elections commissioner."
"Records show a Julie A. Cleary, of Wantagh, will turn 55 this June.
The bill for her was first introduced by the same sponsors in 2007 to reclassify her as a Tier 1 employee instead of Tier 2. The improved status means many more benefits and a bigger pension, although the comptroller's office had no estimates.
If she is designated as a Tier 1 member, she can retire at 55 with no early retirement penalties. As a Tier 2 member with less than 30 years of service, she would face an early retirement reduction of 27 percent, according to the comptroller's office."
Nassau County officials say they have no record of Cleary being on the payroll until 2004.
Jennifer Freeman, a spokeswoman for DiNapoli, said the bill is unusual because it comes with a past service cost of about $51,800, which would be paid to the pension fund by all employers who contribute to the retirement system -- state agencies, municipalities and other public entities. This cost would make up for shortages paid to the pension fund during the longer period of Cleary's membership in the system."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What Say You, Joe Mondello? - Rep. Fossella Admits to Affair and Child After DUI

Let's remind State GOP Chairman Joe Mondello what he said about the Spitzer-Call Girl revelations:
March 10th "This is a sad day for Governor Spitzer and his family as well as for the citizens of our state. It is hard to see how Governor Spitzer can hope to govern effectively while the political, governmental and legal consequences of his behavior swirl about him.”

“New Yorkers are facing hard times. They need a governor who is fully focused on serving their best interests. Governor Spitzer should do the right thing, not only for himself and his family, but also for all the people of New York. He should resign immediately, so New York's government can effectively return to serving its citizens.”

March 11th "The Governor not only betrayed the trust of his wife and children, he shattered the already fragile hopes of those New Yorkers who, little more than a year ago, had given him an overwhelming mandate to govern."

"Today, Governor Spitzer took the only course that his reckless and personally destructive behaviour left him."

Will Mondello call for Fossella to resign?
I'm not going to hold my breath.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

DiNapoli Boots Three from Pension System

From a DiNapoli Press Release...

"State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office revoked the New York State and Local Retirement System membership of three attorneys and rescinded retirement system service credit for two other attorneys and an accountant. The actions are part of DiNapoli’s ongoing review of the Retirement System.

“We’re moving forward, case by case,” DiNapoli said. “We’re conducting a rational, in-depth examination to make sure pensions are only going to those people who have earned them. And we’ll make sure that local taxpayers are made whole.”

DiNapoli revoked retirement system membership for ... Long Island attorneys William Cullen and Nathan Swergold... He rescinded service credit for... Salvatore Evola, an accountant from Long Island."

"Cullen was wrongly reported as an employee by two Long Island public libraries and the Franklin Square Union Free School District, according to DiNapoli’s auditors. The auditors also found that Swergold and Evola were wrongly reported as employees by the Hempstead Sanitary District 1 in Nassau County."

The Problem with Pork

Bethany Foster from RefromNY goes over exactly why the Members Items system in the NYS legisalture is bad.
The practice is bad from a budget standpoint. In a year when lawmakers were trying to find something, anything, to cut from the budget, many say it's irresponsible to allow legislators to dole out pork like any other year. As the Press & Sun-Bulletin notes, "Defenders of the cash piles argue that the 'discretionary items' they finance are small potatoes in a $122 billion budget. True, but those were our potatoes to begin with." Attorney General Cuomo's office is stepping up to try to eradicate outright corruption, but especially in a fiscal crunch, shouldn't we expect our elected officials to be a bit more careful with our tax dollars?

The practice is fundamentally unfair to districts that elect members of the minority party. Even if you agree that legislators should have some small pot of money to give to the most worthy causes in their districts, there is no excuse for partisan distribution of member items. The population of each legislative district is constitutionally required to be substantially equal, yet NYPIRG found that the average Assembly Republican doles out a mere quarter of the amount received by the district of the average Democrat. The Senate disparity is even worse, with Senate Republicans taking home eight times the pork of the average Democrat.

The practice is wholly political. As NYPIRG's numbers show, legislative leaders not only funnel more funding to majority members, but they also prioritize within their own conferences to help their most vulnerable members. Democratic senators are also talking about severely limited member item funding for Republicans if control of the Senate flips this fall. The current practice is despicable and its continuation after a Democratic takeover would be equally deplorable."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Our Staff is Bigger Than Yours - More Albany Dysfunction

I forgot to post this when it first came out.
The NY Sun did a comparison of State Legislature staffing and found that while other states do More with Less, NY does Less with More!

"The Empire State's Legislature employs more people than any other state legislature in the nation.
The state Assembly and Senate totaled 3,428 staff members during its busiest period in 2003, the most recent year for which the National Conference of State Legislatures has employment data. That number is nearly 500 more than the second highest state, Pennsylvania, and it's more than 45% more than either California or Texas, the two most populous states in the union."

The State Senate controlled by Bruno and Skelos has a staff of 530. In California, the Senate leadership has 50 staffers.

New York State has been called the most dysfunctional in the nation. And all the extra staff haven't helped the culture of dysfunction in Albany.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Travel Reimbursements for State Legislators

Robert Harding over at The Albany Project FOILed the travel reimbursement records for the State Legislature. The total pay-out for travel in 2007 was $3,267,903.94.
Harding writes "I filed a Freedom of Information request to obtain the New York State Legislature's travel expenditures for 2007. The exact request I filed was for "per diem payments, taxi fares, mileage, train tickets and any other expenses incurred for travel to Albany."
"The significance of this is the fact that the state legislators, earlier this year, were trying to justify a pay raise. Future arguments in favor of a legislative pay raise will be made - they seem to be made every year. What these expenditures show us is that the legislators do not have it that bad. On top of their $79,500 salary per year, they get reimbursed for travel to Albany (some more than others)."

The spreadsheet is linked here.

The totals for Nassau State Senators...
Hannon......... $20,971.87
Skelos ........... $18,012.08


And our Democratic Senator?
Johnson ......... $9,603.64
Johnson was elected February 6, 2007. Even if he were in office the month of January, the travel reimbursement would still be the lowest.

What exactly is the over $7000 difference from Hannon to Fuschillo? Fuschillo travels from further out in Nassau than Hannon.

Blind Item - Parade Edition

Note to Elected Parade participant - The picture won't be online.

Skelos and Hannon Get Dem Opponents

Skelos is challenged by Hofstra University Ethics Professor Roy Simon and Hannon is challenged by Garden City Attorney Kristen McElroy.
More info to come....