Monday, November 30, 2009

POLITICS: County Supervisors At it AGAIN!


On December 4, The Madison County Board of Supervisors is getting set to give themselves yet another raise…from $12,600 to $20,000….(don’t forget to add the additional salaries paid by the Town’s on top of this $5,000+) …oh, but they’re “giving back” their fully paid health benefits that cost the county up $12,000 each per year. They claim this will be a $45,000 per year savings…in the short term, but over the LONG TERM this modification will cost us taxpayers $100,000’s.

Bottom line: this switch will allow them to take even more out of the public coffers – through the INCREDIBLY GENEROUS New York State Retirement System:

1 - they pay NO NYS TAXES on this Pension (and they complain about the Oneida Nation not paying their fair share of taxes!) ; 2-receive Cost of Living Increases (not in most private plans); 3- ability to “spike” final years’ earnings to increase their pension; 4- $20,000 of pensions from their other Private Retirement Plans are also not taxable in NYS; 4- ability to retire at 55; and 5- vest in 5 years (part timers included).

It is precisely these pension benefits that are literally driving this state into bankruptcy. Here is a link to a recent article and footnote, explaining how these public employee benefits are worth up to 6 TIMES that of the private sector jobs as result of the NYSR system perks and benefits.

These are PART TIME JOBS …MOST of these Supervisors have full time jobs or spouses that have health care available. They take the county healthcare because it’s “Free” to them. Why is it that the Government “Ruling Class” is getting better benefits than us TAXPAYERS? Because “they” make the rules…. How many of us get to give ourselves a raise?

I urge our Supervisor, John Salka, to vote NO and take this message to the other Supervisors: this is no time for them to “feather their nests” while the rest of us make the sacrifices in this economy. These PART TIME jobs with SUPREME BENEFITS have got to stop. If they are there for the salary and benefits, then they are there for the wrong reasons. They need to do the RIGHT THING – forgo the $8,000 raise and pay for a fair portion of their health benefits.

Friday, November 27, 2009

GAS DRILLING: Documentary "Split Estate" - Dec. 1

The first Norwich showing of “Split Estate,” a documentary movie that premiered on the Discovery Channel in October, is scheduled to be shown on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at the Chenango County Council of the Arts, Room 101, Norwich, 7 p.m. The film explores the impact of the new method of hydrofracking gas. in an area of Colorado that was the first to experience a gas drilling boom right after the oil and gas industry were exempted from federal protections like the Clean Water Act. Split Estate maps a tragedy in the making, as citizens in the path of the new drilling boom struggle against the growing environmental and social costs to an area. The film is a clarion call for accountability for an area now referred to as a “National Sacrifice Zone.”

MADISON COUNTY: $24,256 "Part-Time" Job 27 hrs. per week

The Oneida Dispatch reports the Madison County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to hire a crew leader who will supervise, train, and transport land fill help who are "volunteers" under the Dept of Social Service Program. A PART TIME JOB - 27 hours a week...for $24,256 with "some" benefits. Nice "Part Time" Job especially in a County whose average FULL TIME income is approximately $19,500 with NO BENEFITS.
UPDATE: The mobile work crew led by Madison County employee Lyle Malbouf. Not mentioned in the article but research indicates MALBOUF is also union CSEA Madison County "Blue Collar" Unit President.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

EDUCATION: Brookfield School District COSTS per STUDENT

A resident inquired on the "Guestbook" about the salary costs for the local school district. For Brookfield School salaries, you can refer to the new website "See Through NY" at The website includes salaries for Bookfield teachers and the superintendent. The Business Manager and Board promptly responded to a FOIL request (thank you!) and provided updated information on the Business Manager and the newly appointed Principal. The updated salary information on those positions for 2009-10: BUSINESS MANAGER ($89,730 salary ); SUPERINTENDENT ($85,000) and PRINCIPAL ($85,000) - for a total of $ 259,730 base salary or approximately $1,000 per student for these three positions. In addition to salary, all but the Business Manager, receive health, dental and retirement benefits. The Business Manager receives just dental and retirement coverage.

To put Brookfield school expenses in perspective, using the 2009-10 budget and state education resources; and a student population of approximately 260:
1. TOTAL Brookfield ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS ran approximately $488,000 or $1,877 per student ($ 488,000/260 students).
2. TOTAL Brookfield BUDGET 2009-10 Brookfield is approximately $5.3 MILLION or $20,385 per STUDENT ($5,300,000 / 260).
3. On average, each American state spent $9,666 a pupil in 2007-08.
3. New York State spends more on education than any other state - approximately $16,800 per student.
4. Thus, Brookfield's average cost per student of $20,385 is running approximately 20% over the state average of $16,800; and almost TWICE the national average.....leaving us with among the highest education costs in the country.

Let us know if anyone has any updates or additional information (or math corrections!) that can put these costs in a better perspective. FYI - "See Through NY" also offers searchable databases of complete employee payrolls for the state government, New York City, public school districts and public authorities; a breakdown of $148 million in legislative pork barrel projects; operations spending by the state Senate and Assembly; and a benchmarking tool to compare local government spending on a per-capita basis.

Friday, November 13, 2009

NYRI ....R.I.P. ???

In a letter to the Madison Courier, Legislator David Townsend reported that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has denied NYRI's appeal to reconsider it's request to pass construction and operating costs on to ratepayers. Townsend declared that without the ratepayers footing the bill, it was believed there was little hope of financing the project. But is this really the last we'll see of them? Last time they waited a few years and came at us again. There is too much "fat$" in the investment banking and legal fees (plus a guaranteed rate of return on their investment) to believe these wolves won't be back at our door! This is definitely a group to keep your eye on!

GAS Drilling: DEC hears impassioned debate

Hearings continue throughout the region on the DEC's proposed gas drilling regulations. The public has until Dec. 30 to comment on the draft of the regulations, called the supplementary Generic Environmental Impact Statement. The 800-page regulatory draft, released Sept 30, has been the focal point of a caustic debate over the merits and dangers of natural gas production. On the extremes of the debate are those who believe the Marcellus Shale will become either the engine that will power the Southern Tier's economy into lasting prosperity, or an environmental disaster that will devalue land, degrade water and ruin the landscape. A study, commissioned by the Broome County Economic Development office concludes drilling could generate up to $15 billion in direct economic activity over 10 years with 4,000 Marcellus wells.

Monday, November 2, 2009

POLITICAL: Fort Drum District Taken Over By American Taliban

Taliban takes over Ft. Drum District.... yes, it's on the ground up in this district. It appears the seat for the 23rd District has been captured by the religiously based National Conservative party and have run the local, secular Republican SCOZZAFAVA out of Town. Beginning to sound like Afghanistan. Voters in this district have been robbed of their voting rights by a Republican faction that has turned their political party into a RELIGIOUS LOBBY for fundamentalists beliefs. These national interests have used weapons of mass mis-information, designed by the "Conservative Cult" (Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, Palin), who with their vicious tongues, turn normally rational humans into venomous , political zombies who put the Bible before the Constitution.

While normally respectful voters, people in our district have been stunned by the level of anger stirred by these talking "heads" (..actually, I think they have the wrong end..) and their conservative national sponsors. Face it, our former democratic system, has been was hijacked. Even the "teabaggers" got "bagged" on this one when the hand of their feared "BIG GOVERNMENT" swooped in to trump LOCAL rights.

We voters are now left with HOFFMAN an ill-informed, two-issue candidate (abortion and gays) who fits THE NATIONAL profile (only need to check two boxes to be a "qualified" National candidate.). Hoffman not only does NOT reside in our district, the local Watertown papers gave him a negative review, lacking an understanding of major LOCAL issues. Like Palin - another fine example of dressed up but don't put the puppet near a microphone.

We are at a dangerous crossroads for our Country. Now, when we need most to come together in compromise, our house is being divided. We don't need patronizing puppets of the National Conservative Taliban....we need representatives with common sense and backbone that will bring OUR country TOGETHER. Keep up the divisive work Anne, Rush, Glen & Sarah. Doctors murdered in cold blood; organized shout downs and intimidation -- like the Brown Shirts. Is history repeating itself..are we now sowing the seeds of our second civil (religious) war, fertilized with the manure of these talking heads? How far do we allow our Country to travel down this path before we reach the point of no return? Today we are a Democracy.... on Tuesday, we may have traded it all for a THEOCRACY... government run by God and divine intervention? I think even JESUS would have to vote for the Democrat, OWEN, on this one!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


A very sad state of affairs for local voters!' Our LOCAL Congressional seat has been hijacked by the NATIONAL CONSERVATIVE party interests. This weekend our LOCALLY ENDORSED Republican candidate, DeDe Scazzofava was pushed out of the race for McHugh's seat, by NATIONAL CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS in favor of a right wing, third party candidate, Doug Hoffman. A number of NATIONAL Republicans, including Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty and Sarah Palin, had in recent weeks endorsed Mr. Hoffman, over Ms. Scozzafava, who had been selected by local party leaders. The Wall St. Journal reports that even LOCAL Republican party officials are stunned by the Conservative sabotage: "In upstate New York, the local party leaders are still feeling shaken. George Williams, the Oswego County Republican chairman, said the influx of conservative money and activism brought in a brand of politics not seen in the sleepy, sparsely populated district. "Up here, at least in Oswego County, negative is not the way you go out and present yourself. Our people are getting very, very tired of it," Mr. Williams said. "I'm seeing a part of the party I never knew existed." These are the same Conservative Republicans that complain about BIG GOVERNMENT.... and they reach from Washington into our district to steal our right to a fair LOCAL ELECTION? What hypocrisy...! A vote for HOFFMAN is a vote AGAINST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND OUR DEMOCRATIC PROCESS!