Tuesday, October 17, 2006

O for a public teat, that I might suckle at it forevermore....

A little background: a couple of years back, it turned out that the budget of Erie County (in which Buffalo and its suburbs reside) was about to implode. The reasons are too long to enumerate, but mostly they boil down to a stubbornly sluggish local economy combined with a dwindling tax base and some questionable fiscal decisions made a few years before that, when things were less dire. The Head of our County Government, County Executive Joel Giambra, did a lot of things wrong in addressing this ongoing budget problem, but the biggest symbolic thing was when it was revealed that Giambra's personal driver, a personal friend of his who was paid for his driving services out of County budget funds (meaning, out of local tax revenues), was drawing a salary of over $80,000 a year.

Let that figure sink in a moment: a guy was being paid one-fifth of the salary of the President of the United States to drive around the County Executive of a cash-strapped Upstate NY county.

Well, that guy was let go for obvious reasons, and many wondered what on Earth Joel Giambra needed a driver for, anyway. He's not a Senator, a Congressman, or a Governor -- why couldn't he drive himself around? Was his time that valuable? (And if so, why haven't his results been less sucky?)

Which brings me to today: apparently Giambra was involved in a minor traffic accident due to a light being out at an intersection:

Erie County Executive Joel Giambra was not hurt when another car collided with his on Tuesday afternoon in Williamsville. His driver was taken to ECMC but is expected to be ok. (Emphasis added)

So the County Exec still has his own driver. I wonder how much this driver is making. Somehow I suspect that it's just a bit more than what I make.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seems to me this is just evidence that the $80,000 dollar a year guy was a better driver than this new guy.