Enough with the Republican Hypocrisy!
White Plains, NY, December 22, 2010 -- Westchester County Board of Legislators ChairmanKen Jenkins (D-Yonkers) (pictured left) released a statement pointing out the hypocrisy of Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino(pictured right) who recently vetoed a transfer of $500,000 from the County Attorney’s office to the Board of Legislators operating budget to offset costs of assigning four (4) attorneys to advise the Board on legal matters. Astorino criticized the Board, expressing that the Board was “setting up its own legal fiefdom and patronage positions”.
“It’s more than a little disingenuous for Mr. Astorino to make such wild accusations about a transfer from one agency to another. Too many elected officials like Mr. Astorino are playing partisan politics instead of doing what is right for communities. Mr. Astorino’s own words during his campaign were that ‘government belongs to us – not entrenched politicians and political insiders.’ However, since his election, all he’s done is provide a safe haven of county patronage jobs for Republican operatives and their families and has doled out more gifts than Santa Claus.
Here are a few examples:
· Former Republican Mount Pleasant Supervisor Robert Meehan, the current County Attorney and his wife, Nancy, the newly-promoted Republican Deputy Commissioner for the county’s Board of Elections, make more than $423,000 from the county, including salary and benefits.
· The recent hiring of the newly elected chairman of the county’s Conservative Party Hugh Fox, making $92,470-a-year. Fox was elected when Conservative Party members recently ousted Gail Burns, who last year denied Rob Astorino the party's line, and supported his opponent, Democrat Andy Spano. Fox, a Yonkers firefighter who retired this year with a year-end salary of more than $151,486, is also eligible for a pension.
· Former Republican operative and candidate for Yonkers City Council President, James Castro-Blanco, was just recently hired as the new Chief Deputy County Attorney. Castro-Blanco has no municipal law experience, however he represented Hugh Fox during the recent Conservative Party meeting, where former chair Gail Burns was ousted and Fox selected as its new chair.
· Sixty days into Astorino’s new administration, two members of his management team -- Ned McCormack, Director of Communications and Laurence Gottlieb, Director of Economic Development – each received $18,000 raises, taking their salaries to an astonishing $155,000 for two months work.
· The recent hiring of the wife of the Bedford Republican Committee chairman as an assistant to the County Executive.
· Astorino has increased his own operating budget for salaries by $300,000 for the FY 2011 budget. · Astorino hired four additional staff members – with salaries ranging from $40,000 to $75,000 – since November 2010 to work in his executive office.
· Plus, the hiring of Brendan Murnane, the relative of wealthy Astorino donor John Murnane, as an ‘assistant’ to the Chief of Staff.
If the Board were to sustain the County Executive’s vetoes, taxes for Westchester’s residents would actually increase. Instead of grandstanding and trying to score cheap political points, Mr. Astorino should focus on working with the Board of Legislators to develop creative solutions necessary to provide much-needed tax relief for our residents.”