a move designed to inspire the confidence of the young people
of Western New York, Gov. Pataki brought in perhaps the oldest
Republican Party crony he could find to direct the activities
of the “soft” fiscal control board of Erie County.
In order to take a new direction, the governor has decided
that we have to do things the way we always have. We have
to make sure that Republican fossils like Ned Regan can bask
in the sunshine of political patronage.
becoming increasingly obvious that the soft control board
promised by the Governor is, in reality, a velvet glove for
an iron-fisted power grab. As Regan recently told the Buffalo
News, “There’s a massive momentum for change and
it’s time to seize that opportunity.”
far, the first opportunity seized by Natty Ned is a six-figure
salary for each one of his pals on the Control Board. Soft
control board, that. Soft, cushy and not a bad paycheck, even
if it does entail spending a few days of each month in Buffalo.
That’s the same type of public stewardship we saw from
Buffalo’s control board. These folks may be unelected
and unaccountable, but you can’t say that they’re
uncompensated. And, as with Buffalo, county taxpayers are
still paying the salaries of all the evil elected politicians
the Board is here to clean up after.
number two for the new control board was to find a group of
“independent” fact finders, preferably a group
of professional accountants operating in a realm outside of
the petty partisan politics of this community of bickering
Bills fans. And so for a mere million dollars, the Erie County
Control Board hired the firm of Public Financial Management.
far, stories in the Buffalo News have focused on the comfort
level of these brand new bureaucrats. It’s been duly
noted that they’ve been spending most of their time
observing, and according to some unnamed sources, some of
these people actually find Buffalo to be quite a pleasant
you look at the background of Public Financial Management,
however, a different picture emerges. This firm is little
more than a collection of grouper fish following around Republican
sharks. Prior to being hired by Ned Regan, this summer’s
highlight for the company was being at the center of an ethics
investigation in Ohio. They hired a lobbyist, Brian Hicks
to secure contracts with the State of Ohio when under Ohio
law, Hicks could not legally lobby State officials.
historical overview of PFM shows that one of their most successful
fields of endeavor has been coming up with supporting data
for expensive public works projects, particularly sports stadiums.
Everything indicates that PFM operates in a very traditional
political manner: We pony up campaign contributions, you give
us contracts, we provide supporting data for our mutually
reinforcing, Republican initiatives. So, it’s pretty
clear that what old Ned is really talking about when he talks
about ‘seizing the initiative.’
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