Last week’s release of a devastating audit of Erie Community College by the Office of the State Comptroller highlighted poor management at the school in the areas of personnel, purchasing and governance. While the official ECC response as contained in the audit document was loaded with denials and finger-pointing, the public face that college President Jack Quinn tried to put on the issues was something like this – thanks for the constructive criticism. We are getting right on it to set it all straight. We’ll document better and let people know what we are doing.
Fine, President Quinn, but why all the new and expensive administrative positions? What about the pay raises that appear to be personal rather than professional decisions? What about all those little-documented and no-bid contracts? Why are the college Foundation and the Auxiliary Services Corporation being used for executive perks? When the college is in serious financial distress, where is the fiscal restraint? Continue reading
One of the fascinating aspects of the 2016 presidential election cycle is to watch how polls are becoming a story unto themselves. It used to be that public polls were relatively few in number and focused on the horse races among candidates. Now polls seem to grow on trees, and colleges that you never heard of are suddenly in the news for their polls, no matter how well or poorly done they are. Polls are used for bragging rights, as criteria for deciding who gets into debates, and to determine who is politically dead or who is trending upward. Continue reading
Editor’s note: Here’s something a little different for the blog, a limerick. Paul Fisk has prepared this post as a commentary on the state of politics in these United States today.
By Paul Fisk
Many things today make me mad
The same things can too make me sad
The sorry state of debate
Bodes not well for our fate
When facts are treated as bad. Continue reading
One of the premium local campaigns in the 2016 election will be the race for Erie County District Attorney. The contest is just starting, with interim DA Michael Flaherty jumping off with an impressive dollar total.
Political committees in the state must file updated financial reports by January 15th each year, reporting receipts, expenses and loans through January 11th.
Flaherty through January 11th had accumulated $313,697 in loans and contributions. A total of $16,780 was spent, the majority going to election consultants. Continue reading
Editor’s Note: Steve Banko forwarded the following commentary several days ago, and it provides a thorough review of the problems created in Flint, Michigan when an emergency manager appointed by Governor Rick Snyder took matters into his own hands and wound up creating a public health and environmental hazard in the city. A story in yesterday’s New York Times reports that the crisis has now prompted a federal emergency declaration.
By Steve Banko
I spent twenty years working on political campaigns and thirty-three years in government. From the beginning of my experience, I’ve heard the mantra from conservatives and their acolytes in the Republican Party that “government needs to be run like a business.” On the other side, progressives and their teammates, the Democrats, have scoffed at the notion because simply stated government is not a business. Continue reading
For more than one year now, auditors from the State Comptroller’s Office have been at work at ECC. The report is now done and the college administration has prepared its response and is developing an action plan for addressing the document. I have reviewed dozens of state or county audits over my years in government. This audit is devastating.
The audit (“Board Oversight and Management of College Resources”) goes to the heart of the school’s management and operations. The picture drawn by the auditors is not a pretty one. It details a board that has ignored its fiduciary responsibilities. It details a college president who has been running the place pretty much as he sees fit. Continue reading
With all the attention focused on the very large 2016 presidential election field and the upcoming contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, it is easy to forget that New York State will have its own presidential primary. How big a role our state will play in the process remains to be seen.
New York State has rarely in recent times had a serious role to play in choosing party nominees for president. Going back in history New York governors were frequent candidates (Samuel Tilden; Theodore Roosevelt; Charles Evans Hughes; Franklin Roosevelt; Thomas Dewey). And we do, of course, have our former United States Senator, Hillary Clinton, as the probable Democratic candidate in 2016. By the time we get to the New York primary on April 19th Martin O’Malley will be long gone and Bernie Sanders will likely be fading fast. Continue reading