Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Flacks Report [Belated Dec. '10]

Steve Solarz---Condolences---Lawsuit on Judicial Pay---"Pete" Grannis Rides Again!---"Tammany Gall"

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Steve Solarz


Condolences to Joan Paylo on the passing of her Mother.

Lawsuit over judges pay legislation

Alexander "Pete" Grannis Rides Again!

Comptroller DiNapoli's new First Deputy is Pete Grannis, who served 32 years (1975-2007) in the Assembly and four as State Commissioner of Environmental Protection before being rudely and unceremoniously dismissed by the dying swans of the lame duck Paterson administration. When Grannis asked to see Paterson to ask why he was being fired after four years service, particularly since it was only weeks before the whole bunch would be turned out by the calendar, he was denied that opportunity says historian Henry Stern.

Tammany Gall! Booted Elex Big's Sour Gripes

By DAVID SEIFMAN, City Hall Bureau Chief, The New York Post, February 17, 2011

If Mayor Bloomberg can't take down the city's Board of Elections, perhaps its former director can.

In a political epiphany, former Executive Director George Gonzalez claims that the board is patronage-laden, "dysfunctional" and "accountable to no one" -- even though he himself was a political appointee before he was fired from the post.

"This case involves a public servant who gave 35 years of service to the city and whose career came to an end, unfairly, unlawfully and at the hands of the last bastion of 'Tammany Hall' in the city and state," Gonzalez declared in a blistering federal lawsuit demanding $290,000 for unpaid comp time and other wages.

His comments oddly echo Bloomberg's complaints about the board for years. If it goes to trial, Gonzalez's suit could expose the inner practices of the board.

Board President J.C. Polanco issued an angry response, pointing out that he had crossed party lines to give Gonzalez the majority he needed to become executive director last August.

"Mr. Gonzalez has unfortunately decided to make libelous comments against the New York City Board of Elections and its commissioners," said Polanco, a Bronx Republican. "I am disappointed he would make such terribly false and blanketed comments about my colleagues."

By state law, the board's commissioners are nominated by each of the five Democratic and Republican county leaders, and are appointed by the City Council.

Many of the board's employees get their jobs through political connections. In fact, Gonzalez himself has ties to the Bronx Democratic organization. "Everyone knows it's not civil service," said one political veteran. Among other things, Gonzalez maintained that some commissioners are exceeding their annual $30,000 cap on per diem payments. His lawyer, Tom Shanahan, filed a Freedom of Information request for a list of all board employees with criminal records.

Gonzalez was fired just a couple of months after assuming his position when The Post reported that he had altered a ballot in Queens last November in favor of the widow of Sean Bell, who was slain by police. He said the move was intended to highlight a special election for the City Council. The commissioners countered that they had issued specific orders not to change the ballot.

He later submitted a request to get paid for 2,394 hours in comp time accumulated over four years, but the request was rejected, and the comp time rules were subsequently changed.

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