Here, Diagonally! Pretty Sneaky, Sis.

19 Sep

vw-ohsnap.gif Chris Collins’ administration has eviscerated the Apprenticeship Law. Passed a few years ago over Giambra’s objection, it required contractors on county-funded public works projects to hire firms that had apprenticeship programs. Which generally meant union shops.

I have to admire how this game was played. Positively brilliant.

Collins does not have the votes in the Legislature to repeal the law, passed in 2006 over the objections of then-County Executive Joel A. Giambra. But Collins says he can suspend it because state government has a moratorium on new apprentice-training programs, and because the Legislature failed to act on his proposed rule changes within 60 days.

Collins and his staff caught the Legislature sleeping. The law required the public works commissioner to create the administrative rules by which he would follow the law’s intent.

Giambra’s public works commissioner eventually wrote up a set of administrative rules and followed them, but never gave them to the Legislature for approval.

After learning of the oversight, the Collins administration wrote up a set of rules that rendered the law almost meaningless. Most crucial: Any bidder without a state-certified apprentice training law could simply provide a letter stating they could not get one because the state Department of Labor stopped certifying them under then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

When the County Legislature failed to act on Collins’ rules within 60 days, they went into effect. The 60 days had elapsed Thursday.

52 Responses to “Here, Diagonally! Pretty Sneaky, Sis.”

  1. Dan Meyer September 19, 2008 at 2:45 pm #

    GO BILLS !!!

    Wow… not a single person has anything to say about this story?

    Yes indeed, this is Bills country and many, many folks in this region have a case of Bills Fever.

    Let’s go Bills, let’s go Bills, let’s go Bills, ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba BILLS!!!

    Have a nice weekend everyone. Kick back, relax and enjoy the game on Sunday.

  2. Jean September 19, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    what a jerk!

  3. Greg September 19, 2008 at 3:30 pm #

    good move by Collins
    makes me wonder though if the legislature did want to repeal it but was afraid of upsetting their special interest groups if they actually voted to repeal, so instead they did the passive aggressive method of not directly acting

  4. buffalomom September 19, 2008 at 5:37 pm #

    Oh, and he is also trying to get rid of WIC. Taking food (Federally funded food) out of the mouths of children. Can you say, “asshole” boys and girls?

  5. BH Liddell Hart September 19, 2008 at 5:47 pm #

    The Leg probably missed it when Lynn Marinelli forced the whole staff to attend a Joe Mesi rally today.

  6. Pauldub September 19, 2008 at 5:53 pm #

    Could you give me a reference to that Buffalomom?

  7. Mike In WNY September 19, 2008 at 5:57 pm #

    buffalomom, you’re a real tool. Are you a government employee or just sponge off the system to meet your needs?

  8. Prodigal-Son September 19, 2008 at 5:59 pm #

    Which is more stunning? The sheer incompetance of the Legislature, or the gamesmanship of the Collins administration?

    Greg – I’d like to believe your version of events, but I can’t give them that much credit.

  9. Tuco September 19, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    That’s a good angle Greg, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that is part of it. Regardless, crafty move by the County Executive!

  10. Facts Plz September 19, 2008 at 7:06 pm #

    Mr. Collins’ move was more than just brilliant or savy or artful (all of which are great adjectives), but more importantly it was RESPONSIBLE and Taxpayer CENTRIC.

    I doubt the Legislature’s flat feet were intentional, there are too many ardent union spokesmen on the body for that to have happened. Most likely this was a failure of the Staff to catch the procedural nuance.

    Bravo Chris Collins! Delivering on campaign promises how TOTALLY REFRESHING.

  11. buffalomom September 19, 2008 at 7:29 pm #

    @ BH – wouldn’t be suprised.

    Pauldub – people in the rath building.

    @ mike in wny – no personal attacks to other posters, remember? and what if i am a single mom who needs help? what if my husband died? what if i lost my job?

    again, just like the republicans. claim jesus as your own and then don’t do unto others. remember when jesus cured the lepper? remember the significance of a lepper in those times – the most untouchable of the untouchable. jesus helped him. but apparently, you’re too good to help those beneath you.

    man, i hope if something bad ever happend to you mike that people didn’t treat you so callously. shame on you.

    I am sure the Leg was not asleep at the wheel – Collins has a dear friend in Lynn Marinelli.

  12. Ralph Wiggum September 19, 2008 at 9:13 pm #

    The speakers Collins trotted out on his behalf at his press conference at Carl Paladino’s latest development announcing this action: (1) Rosanne Lettieri, Joel Giambra family member and massive recipient of County monies through her family-owned Diamond D and DiPizio Construction companies who routinely win massive County highway construction contracts; and (2) Scott Zylka, former Erie County Legislature staffer and regional director for the Associated Builders and Contractors, in which role his salary and much of the expenses of his organization was paid for until the 2005 budget crisis out of Erie County Legislature Republican pork money. Those are some credible experts!

  13. Queen Carlotta September 19, 2008 at 9:58 pm #

    Buffalomom, that is a serious claim. You need more proof than you saw it written on the back of some bathroom stall in the Rath Building. I’ve also heard people in the Rath Building say we have one the best run county governments in the country – something I also believe to be dead wrong.

  14. Timothy Domst September 19, 2008 at 10:08 pm #

    I voted for Collins so he would do things like this.

  15. buffalomom September 19, 2008 at 10:32 pm #

    @ QC It is serious. Exactly why I’m not outing the people who said it. DUH. Wait and see.

  16. Mike In WNY September 20, 2008 at 1:17 am #

    If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.

    Our government has been giving out too many fish and people have lost their initiative to fish for themselves.

    If you are/were a single mom who truly needs help, it’s too bad you aren’t able to seek that help through the wonderful voluntary charitable organizations that would exist in a free society.

    Helping people is great, being forced to help people and watching the money being wasted and/or spent inefficiently harms everyone.

  17. Facts Plz September 20, 2008 at 3:44 am #

    On the side of wondering if the Legislature “laid down” on this:

    Where was comptroller Poloncarz on this. He had to be informed of the new regulations. Did he miss it or did he know the AppLAW was in fact driving up construction costs by the 20/30% and he could not in good conscience alert the Maj Leader or Dem Leg Chair?? Interesting.

  18. Buffalopundit September 20, 2008 at 7:27 am #

    @Mike in WNY – stay on topic, and attack the comment – not the commenter. Also, I’m quite pleased that we live in a society that will help about 8 million people obtain on average $40 of staples per month. Plus, WIC is specifically designed for households with children. I like poor children to be fed.

    @Facts Plz – maybe there aren’t that many county-funded capital projects underway right now that are affected by the apprenticeship law. I mean, Tonawanda Creek Road is still sinking into the stream below.

  19. Pauldub September 20, 2008 at 8:15 am #

    @Buffalomom – I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. If it does happen, then we can give him the asshole designation.

  20. buffalomom September 20, 2008 at 8:21 am #

    @ Pauldub – I hope that this gets around enough and that people get all over it so it doesn’t have a chance at materializing. I give the asshole designation based not only on him achieving his goals but also for the intention to gut this County of charitable, helpful agencies and programs.

    LET’S START OUR WATCH ON THE LIBRARIES. He’s going to say they got some grants so screw them.

  21. Mike In WNY September 20, 2008 at 9:18 am #

    I did attack the comment, try reading it again. Out of control government programs that help the very poor people that they create is not very laudable in my eyes. Humans, when left to their own devices can be very compassionate. Kleptocracies are wasteful and inefficient.

  22. Ruth September 20, 2008 at 10:56 am #

    Whatever your feelings about the Apprenticeship Law, the incompetence of the Legislature is very concerning.

  23. Byron September 20, 2008 at 12:20 pm #

    “buffalomom, you’re a real tool. Are you a government employee or just sponge off the system to meet your needs?” = attacking the person. YOU try reading it again. Or do you get to define ordinary words any way you wish, like Russell?

  24. buffalomom September 20, 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    I don’t see how the “system” creates poor people. Unless you mean the history of Jim Crow laws and segregation. Yeah, that system really screwed things up for a lot of people.

    @ Mike in WNY google up the veil of ignorance. Or how about this: there but for the grace of god go I. You might want to consider being a little more grateful for your good forture.

    Jesus was truly a Democrat. And I’m sure he’s ashamed of the Republicans.

  25. buffalomom September 20, 2008 at 12:59 pm #

    Take note: State of the Libraries.

    “Literacy seen as key to lifting economy”

    …And few places could stand to do better on both scores than Buffalo, whose “alarmingly” high illiteracy rate contributes mightily to its ranking as the nation’s second-poorest big city, Quinn-Carey stressed Friday as she renewed the library’s commitment to help pull the community to its feet through reading programs and other initiatives…

    Can’t wait until Collins strikes funding for the libraries. He’s gone after hard working constuction workers now it’s time to go after poor child who need WIC and the libraries. It’s coming. I hope enough people start talking about it so he doesn’t go there.

  26. dtwarren September 20, 2008 at 1:02 pm #

    I believe that this apprenticeship law is illegal and unenforceable. It is contrary to the competitive bidding requirements of the General Municpal Law and public policy.

  27. Facts Plz September 20, 2008 at 2:58 pm #

    BP: Once the capital borrowing is concluded some road/bridge projects may be let for bid, even if they are lined up for next construction season… bidding and award can happen between now and then. Essentially, there are two years worth of Capital projects that have been put in the que waiting for the borrowing impasse to resolve.

    I would say saving 20/30% on tens of Millions in projects is a very Taxpayer Friendly result. Also good for the economy to get that federal and state matching money being paid in wages, materials, transportation, and all the collateral businesses that stand to benefit.

  28. Know it all September 20, 2008 at 3:50 pm #

    Like this is going to save “the taxpayers” any money. It’s just more cash for the non-union, scumbag contractors. Hopefully when a scab is killed or injured on a worksite, their family sues the county for billions. Anti union=piece of s**t.

  29. rastamick61 September 20, 2008 at 4:26 pm #

    Collins is a tool and you union haters are too but he played this hand very well even if the legislature is as was mentioned above complicit in the cowardice of their inaction. Catching this crew sleeping is about as hard as catching a fat guy at McDonald’s. It worked thought so kudos to Collins who remains a tool as do all of you I hate unions douchebags.

  30. Mike In WNY September 20, 2008 at 8:04 pm #

    Perhaps the legislature just appeared to be sleeping so they wouldn’t take as much heat from the union support.

  31. Timothy Domst September 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    Don’t worry, Know it all, you can just get the mob to help the union enforce the apprenticeship program, like it helped out in Niagara Falls.

  32. Timothy Domst September 20, 2008 at 8:51 pm #

    The union can get the mob to have an apprenticeship program for firebombing honest workers while they sleep.

  33. rastamick61 September 20, 2008 at 11:36 pm #

    I recently read about a guy in Niagara Country who wanted to be the number tree/lumber guy in the biz. He was a holy f-ing terror wrecking people’s equipment and beating them up etc etc etc. One of his competitors actually died of a heart attack his family said was related to the stress of dealing with this nutcase. Non union guy, a bit of a freelancer as it were. He didn’t need the support of any union goons to wage his little campaign of terror. As I have mentioned before Blackwater and Halliburton are two great non union outfits always hiring new people. They benefit from a stacked, no-bid system in ways no union worker I have ever met will ever hope to benefit from their connections. The neo-con agenda has no place for unions but the world I live in and go to work in always will.

  34. Facts Plz September 21, 2008 at 7:43 am #

    Oh My! RUSTAMICK, KNOW IT ALL: Your Hysteria is palpable!

    You do realize that nothing in this Suspension of the crAPPRENTICESHIP Training Law results in the prohibition of Union Shops from bidding dont you?

    All this does is make it possible for non-union contractors to bid on County work… Let’s all keep this in perspective guys.

    Now the playing field is level and competition is increased and the laws and policies of NY regarding the award of contracts to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder can be honored.

  35. rastamick61 September 21, 2008 at 8:30 am #

    Fplz –no hysteria here just a long term weariness from listening to these I hate unions, unions ruined my life clowns every time there’s anything remotely related to a union in the news. Reagan’s people succeeded in getting working people to vote against their own best interests way back when and there seems to me to be a persistent willingness among non-millionaires to adopt the management stance against unions and slam them for their corruption while ignoring the benefits and the good they provide workers. As a teacher if I wasn’t protected by a union my job would be in the hands of whatever hack or crony who happened to be in charge every fall and whether or not I helped him with his garage roof that summer. I know people who do my job without benefit of a union and their job, according to them, sucks. And no I am not going to apologize for teacher’s unions getting what they can any more than a UAW member is going to apologize for his benefits. When was the last time a Carly Fiorina or that fat ass Lee Raymond from Exxon/Mobil apologized for milking a company, its shareholders and the public ? Never happens but i ‘ll guarantee the union haters were cheering Fiorina at the RNC.

  36. Facts Plz September 21, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    I am sorry Rastamick, but your rambling unfocused rant is a typical propagandist technique; spewing unrelated scattergun hot buttons which obfuscate the simple issue on the table. Not persuasive and kind of disingenuous.

  37. buffalomom September 21, 2008 at 10:29 am #

    I love it. To hear some people.

    Union workers, struggling to make ends meet, are the bad guys – all crooks.

    But rich CEOs making $500 for every $1 the worker gets, yeah, they should be sainted up there with the heavenly Lord. What a bunch of good guys.

    A few bad cookies in the union camp doesn’t make it all bad. It makes a few people bad.

    Oh, and enjoy your weekend which is brought to you thanks to the UNIONS. (If you are so anti-union, maybe you shouldn’t watch the Bills today. Just go to work and while you’re at it, don’t ask for compensation.)

  38. Mike In WNY September 21, 2008 at 4:40 pm #

    Unions take away a person’s ability to control their own lives. Some people deserve more than the union pay scale but are precluded from their just compensation.

  39. GOPmom September 21, 2008 at 5:09 pm #

    Hey Buffalomom – doesn’t Collins donate his salary to charity? Mean republican that he is. His job is to do the best for the TAXPAYERS of Erie county, not just the disadvantaged. It is a fact that republicans are more generous to charities than democrats. Maybe if people had more cash in their pockets rather than the hand of the government trying to grab every last penny there would be more private donations to charity.

  40. Timothy Domst September 21, 2008 at 6:42 pm #

    You union clowns like to think all businesses or taxpayers can support your infinite perks and high wages, and will drive places like American Axle out of town and bankrupt the city to pay for free plastic surgery. You can’t handle a real argument, you make up positions for your opponents that they never had. I never defend fortune 500 CEOs when they drive businesses into the ground, but you have to say I do because of your puny, stilted world view. If I had a buck every time I heard a union loudmouth drone on about how their wages never make a difference to the bottom line, “It’s management’s fault for not making a better product” or some other lie I would be rich. You will push to raise taxes again and again to pay for your indecent pay, as if that won’t hurt the rest of the economy, which is proof that you don’t know how to run a business or make decisions, you simply say anything you can think of to try and justify your huge income. Another proof that you clowns don’t understand how the economy works is your claim that us non-union wage earners are just full of sour grapes and need to unionize ourselves. If we did the economy would grind to a halt. You are so lucky to be living in a state and county run by politicians that are controlled by your greedy unions.

  41. Becky September 21, 2008 at 7:50 pm #

    Sounds to me as if some people have confused the actual workers who aren’t anywhere near the top of a pay scale with the hacks that follow their leaders around from job to job.

    Glad I’m not seething in bitterness either, like some of the commenters here.

  42. Facts Plz September 21, 2008 at 8:05 pm #

    Let’s Regroup. The topic is: THE EVISCERATION OF THE APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING LAW by County Exec Collins. Thank you.

  43. rastamick61 September 21, 2008 at 10:31 pm #

    Ahh there’s the plastic surgery hot button again. I had Lasiks thanks and it was negotiated in a contract with a management person who could have said no you can’t have lasiks but for some reason they said yeah fine. And if taking a job with no protection from the whims of politicians who love to entrench themselves in education for some reason makes me a clown TimD then let me get my white face big shoes and machete cause I am all for it. FPlz : Why are you calling it evisceration now when before you were telling everyone to calm down and that there was no need for hysterics ? Pretty dramatic choice of terms methinks, more of a lumpectomy than an evisceration from what all the bigger thinkers here seem to say. And if you really think I comment here to persuade union haters of anything you’re being disingenuous. At least you know that word though I’ll give you that.

  44. Timothy Domst September 21, 2008 at 11:31 pm #

    You say “It’s in the contract”, not “My union threatens to bring down any politician that doesn’t give us exactly what we want (Cadillac health care) in our contract by blitzing the airwaves with expensive, hysterical ads that threaten the end of civilization if we don’t get free plastic surgery.” Do you mean by the whims of politicians getting fired if you don’t do your job like the rest of the work force?

  45. Timothy Domst September 21, 2008 at 11:36 pm #

    Becky you have a typical union view that if a union member is not “at the top of the pay scale” they are being paid crummy wages. Take a look at the median income in this area and compare it to union wages. It’s another old trick to try and distract people with the high salaries of a handful of political appointees that are insignificant compared to the monumental and growing expense of the rank and file wages and benefits.

  46. Becky September 22, 2008 at 5:29 am #

    Union workers are taxpayers, as are those who would benefit from participating in apprentice programs.

  47. hank September 22, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    Union workers, struggling to make ends meet


    Show me a Union Worker and you’ll see 2 things.
    1. A VERY WELL PAID WORKER, whether he does his job well or not.
    2. A worker who gets his pocket picked to the tune of 50.00 a week to get that good paying job.

    And what guarantees do the Unions give?

    If your company decides to move to Mexico (like the Trico Plants Did), or just fold up and disappear from cheap foreign Competiton like Bethelhem and Republic Steel did–

    Has the union “protected” your job? –drive around the country and ask all the WAW and USW members about how their jobs were protected.

    IF you’re a union worker and you’re “Struggling to make ends meet”–
    Sell your boat, your Harley, your summer cottage, your street rod, and you’ll be able to live just fine.

  48. Timothy Domst September 22, 2008 at 4:50 pm #

    Becky, the members of civil service unions pay taxes which added up together do not make up for the difference between their wages/benefits and the wages/benefits of people doing similar work in the private sector. People like me not only have to directly pay high taxes to make up that difference, but we also have to live with lower wages due to an economy which is stifled by the high taxes needed to pay the civil service unions. The end result is people and businesses leaving the area, due to their sense and rationality. If members of civil service unions had to pay a special tax rate that, combined, was high enough to pay their combined premium wages the problem would be solved.

  49. rastamick61 September 22, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    So Tim since you don’t want to work for a union and it’s obvious that you have sense and rationality when are you leaving for Carolina ?

  50. Timothy Domst September 23, 2008 at 4:13 pm #

    I’ll wait for you to go retire down south with all your pension money. Maybe by then they’ll be rid of the school board and let the mayor, someone people actually show up to vote for unlike the school board members, determine the school budget.


  1. Chris Collins and the Dictatorship of Petty Bureaucracy | Artvoice Daily - October 17, 2012

    […] Collins is bureaucrat-in-chief.He managed to do an end run around a sleepy legislature to get rid of Tim Kennedy’s Apprenticeship Law.  Under the law, companies bidding on county-funded construction work had to be a union shop, and […]

  2. Chris Collins and the Dictatorship of Petty Bureaucracy | Buffalopundit - December 2, 2014

    […] managed to do an end run around a sleepy legislature to get rid of Tim Kennedy’s Apprenticeship Law.  Under the law, companies bidding on county-funded construction work over a certain dollar amount […]

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