Collins Running County Like a Business?

31 Oct

Which one?

Check out this BuffNews editorial:

By purposely omitting a $16 million liability from his proposed budget and still presenting the document as balanced, Erie County executive Chris collins has demonstrated a troubling disregard for ethical budgeting practices as well as the public trust.

Indeed, by deliberately misleading legislators, the control board and the public on a matter of finance, Collins has undermined his own assertive style. Collins is supposed to run the county like a business, but omitting expenses from a critical legal document doesn’t meet that test. As an unpolitician, he is supposed to be immune from pressures that can cause traditional officeholders to play fast and loose with taxpayers. Yet that is what he has done.

Collins explains that he’s trying to negotiate the liability away. But he hasn’t yet. So it’s still there and should be on the books.

The county Comptroller called it a “serious breach”. Collins calls Poloncarz “chicken little” for having the gall and nerve to do his job as the people’s financial watchdog.

Collins, who is more a politician than he lets on, thought he’d just keep the Comptroller out of the loop.

More recently, Collins hid from Poloncarz the fact the county owes ECMC $16 million in Medicaid-related charges and that he’s bargaining with the hospital to forgive the payment because the county provides it with other support.

“The comptroller cannot be trusted to maintain any confidence,” Collins explained.

Countered Poloncarz: “As the chief financial officer, our office has to be involved, whether he likes it or not.”

By design, the comptroller provides an independently elected set of eyes over the county’s books. But the county executive and comptroller also are to work in tandem.

County Government. Is there anything it can’t do?

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23 Responses to “Collins Running County Like a Business?”

  1. STEEL October 31, 2008 at 5:36 pm #

    Ah…Hellowwww…That Is how business is run. How do you think wall Street got the way it is.

  2. Buffalo Blood Donor October 31, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    Let’s say that in my business, I have a customer that refuses to pay for my services (because of bankruptcy or whatever). So I go to my vendors from whom I bought equipment for that bankrupt project, and ask them to negotiate the equipment cost down, say, from $20,000 to $15,000. And let’s say that they verbally agree to do so but there’s nothing in writing that this will actually happen.

    In good faith, I will show that expense in next month’s budget as a $15,000 unpaid expense rather than a $20,000 expense, saving my company $5,000.

    There is nothing wrong with this, ethical or otherwise, so long as that arrangement appears to be moving forward and both parties are negotiating in good faith.

    Does Collins know more about this deal than we do? Perhaps, perhaps not. But I wouldn’t arbitrarily rule his budget omission as deliberately misleading until I heard much more detail about where the County and ECMC stand with regard to those negotiations.

    BBD

  3. Timothy Domst October 31, 2008 at 6:52 pm #

    I read that and said to myself, “Ouch, 16 million liability left off the books, by a businessman.” Then I read “ECMC”, and understood everything. The endless machinations of government employees desperate to preserve their jobs. Anyone who reads the paper knows that ECMC negotiates in bad faith, we have a huge beds/patients ratio in this shrinking city, but ECMC will only let other places consolidate.

  4. WNYPMH October 31, 2008 at 8:28 pm #

    ECMC isn’t writing the books though, so, understanding it as an ECMC thing is incorrect, and Chris Collins leaving it off the books before he negotiated it away is another accounting gimmick. It’s those gimmicks that get us into trouble everytime.

  5. Buffalo Mark October 31, 2008 at 8:44 pm #

    This is an expense determined by and mandated by the state, not ECMCC. We cannot negotiate the liability away and it must be recorded on our financial books. The administration states it is attempting to negotiate an offset against other subsidies we presently provide ECMCC. The county has attempted to negotiate this away before and ECMCC has rejected it. That is not to say it won’t be changed, but under past practice we will have to pay for it and it should have been noted in the proposed budget and 4 year plan. The legislators now have to try to fix a $5.3 million hole next year.

    As I said when we released the report “the failure to include a known material liability – that the County is obligated to make a multi-million dollar payment to ECMCC in 2009, 2010 and 2011 – is a serious breach of budgeting practices. Obfuscating the facts and intentionally withholding material information from this office, the Legislature and the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority does nothing to benefit the taxpayers and only breeds an environment of mistrust.”

    Contrary to what people think, I hope the administration can negotiate an offset, but until that is in writing the liability should have been included in the budget.

  6. HapKlein October 31, 2008 at 10:19 pm #

    This entire episode points up the hopeless task of running government like a business.

    Can we run a winery like a cattle ranch or a vegetable farm like a fishing boat?

    Government finances should be obvious and honest.

    Chris Collins, for all his talk of management systems has turned this budget to a fiasco before we even have details. I really lost faith when he indicated that Poloncarz had nothing to do with the budget and excluded him from the process.

    Since Collins is a Republican and Poloncarz a Democrat one must draw the conclusion that exlcuding the county accountant from budget considerations is political.

    But I have a recollection that Collins would make government non-partisan. Did he change his promise the day of or the day after the election?

  7. rastamick61 November 2, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    Somewhere Collins was quoted as saying that there really isn’t supposed to be a middle class either, that it really is about rich and poor. Naturally, I’d like to think he did say his because it would fit my gripes against him as another patriarchal, aristocratic republican who thinks running something like a business means he’s the boss and that’s all the business you peons need to understand. In education I hear this same mantra and we have seen the dazzling results at Academy @44 where B-lo houses it’s most at-risk kids who have no hope of parole and last year were served with the wrong software in some subjects which led to their inability to pass state competencies. That’s called a validity issue I think in Eduspeak. Also 8th graders @44 enjoyed a 100% failure rate on the math final. The business that these kids have been subcontracted out to has no way to contact them by phone or email or you can call the number all day but nobody will answer. It’s a company called Resultek from Baltimore where certain people in BPS have friends. After teaching the wrong curriculum in Science and failing 100% in Math, the consequence for Resultek ? A renewed contract which brings the total they’ve taken from BPS to around 7 million. And CFO Gary Crosby recently asked teachers to show some compassion by not insisting that his unilateral 1 health carrier be switched back as per court order since it was done illegally. Where was the compassion for those kids who got blown off ? And for the 30 administrators laid off in a power play to push the single health carrier through ? This is my small taste of someone talking about running it like a business. They may as well say tax and spend or liberal trial lawyer since it’s just another hollow mouthful of words that says nothing.

  8. Haterade aka John Burke November 2, 2008 at 11:00 am #

    Collins is a jackass … and I hope Buffalo Mark eats him alive …

  9. Timothy Domst November 2, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    Talk about hollow, you actually conflate your multiple health insurance perk with some kids getting a wrong test? So are the taxpayers to understand that your union will continue to hold kids hostage until every last detail in the school district is perfect, and until then you will continue to demand an ever-growing stream of lavish benefits?

    It would do you and your kind well if the public really put more weight on a patriarchal, aristocratic attitude than the hard fact of a broke government that pays you all way too much to fail. Talk about arrogance, pretending that your free plastic surgery is somehow related to helping kids learn, and trying to portray teachers as the peons around here, when they run the show. How dare someone expect you act like an employee and do the job the way you’re told.

    Well the BTF has had its way for years, and the schools are terrible as ever. I guess that’s because Resultek screwed up with a test for 8th graders in one subect at one school. Next month it will be another smokescreen, then another, and the next thing you know 15 or 20 years will have passed and another crop of kids will graduate to either leave to get a job or get a lower-paying one in Buffalo where we have the privilege of paying so much and getting so little. But you’ll have your pension and benefits, so you can move to where that isn’t a problem, or send your kids to private school.

  10. rastamick61 November 3, 2008 at 2:09 am #

    You know Tim I have been patient with you on many occasions. The BTF has not had its way for 2 years what the fuck are you talking about ? We’ve been waiting for courts for 2 years to agree that our employer illegally broke a contract which they did. Do you believe in the rule of law or in patriarchal bullshit ? Don’t answer that you all ready have. Are you so underpaid and pathetic that all you can ever say on here is some hollow bullshit about the taxpayers of Wilson ( who supported their cornholing rapist jocks and their sit on their fat ass reading a clipboard coaches) and the taxpayers of this and that ? I don’t take plastic surgery and if you’ve ever seen a faculty room in B-lo you’d know almost nobody does ! Buy you know what Timmy if anyone does good for them it was negotiated into a contract and that’s how the big bad union world you are so terrified of actually works. Maybe if you had a decent job and some balls you could actually have a valid point of view. You are so cowed by these anti-union jerkwaters around here you can only repeat their mantra. You’re arrogant in your ignorance and your jealousy masquerading as righteous indignation is the only fucking card you ever play. It’s boring and tired and your schtick is lame. Grow a set o.k. This asshole company at School 44 has our most at risk kids hostage in a non therapeutic environment and teaches them the wrong shit yet collect $7 million from your precious taxpayers one of whom is me, Timbits. Only a fucking imbecile with an obvious 2″ hard on for union workers could support that. Oh whaddya know you do. I do send 3 of my kids to private school because I believe in God, last I knew that was still ok in the constitution even for a teacher. Now tell me I am a hypocrite right ? Yeah I am that’s why I need God in my life. Send me a card from carolina because crybabies like you all end up moving there. You and Hankie can go out and spit chaw juice on Obama signs together. Really send me a card when you get there because unions have made your life here unliveable. Get out now while you’re still really fucking bitter and self pitying. I’ll be here waiting till the ripe old age of 55 to retire and bitch to your manager about the lousy service you give me at the drive though window. There I feel so much less bitter now.

  11. rastamick61 November 3, 2008 at 2:13 am #

    powned

  12. Timothy Domst November 3, 2008 at 5:34 pm #

    You stinking piece of sh*t c*nt. The unbelieveable hypocrisy, greed, and whining of scummy pieces of garbage like you is simply ridiculous. “It was negotiated into a contract”, like a twenty dollar bill fell out of the sky and you happened to be there. Dirtbags like you hold the future of the city’s children hostage to your greed, and those kids get practically nothing to show for it. Your union fights “teaching to the test”, because it’s a guarantee that they’d learn SOMETHING. Your union won’t allow merit pay, fights charter schools, fights any and everything new except, of course, more money for you.

    As far as growing a pair you brainless union robot, I’m in the phone book, and anytime you want to meet and say anything like this to me face to face I’d be happy to oblige you.

    You’re a c*nt.

  13. rastamick61 November 3, 2008 at 6:04 pm #

    Oooooh Timbits are you cross ? I just don’t think I could bear it if I thought you weren’t my friend. Maybe we should have a spelling contest instead. You really do have a hard time with the way the world works maybe because you’re always in the crybabies line trying to make people who earn their keep feel guilty. You can come on in and show me how it’s done any day Tiny you wouldn’t last 4 minutes. But you’re a better man because you have shit jobs for shitty pay adn I like my job right ? Tell all the UAW guys outside Starbucks how overpaid they are and what a poor abused prole you are maybe they’ll buy you a pop. If you want guys to call you from the phonebook you might want to try Craig’s list I don’t swing in those branches but you go right ahead. Is this what all of you crybabies do when you get rolled verbally, try that say it to my face routine. I said it to your face biatch, so go to Carolina and come back in three years crying how you were abused because you’re a northerner. powned again huh.

  14. Timothy Domst November 3, 2008 at 7:59 pm #

    You don’t have the guts to show your name, or to live in Buffalo, from where you steal your living. You just trot back to the safety of Eden, not as far from Buffalo as Carolina physically, but where your kids won’t ever be subjected to the joke schooling you foist on the citizens of Buffalo, so it might as well be Carolina. You wouldn’t last four minutes at any of the jobs I’ve had either, and as for getting rolled verbally, is that what you call your mongoloid ranting? You said absolutely nothing to my face, that was in your imagination, as are all the things you do to deserve being overpaid by the overtaxed. You’re pathetic, and I feel sad for the people that have to put up with an idiot like you.

  15. rastamick61 November 3, 2008 at 10:06 pm #

    I am sure your collection of name tags and hairnets is voluminous and I am also sure you have new jobs quite often. Are you trying to fight me Timmy ? Is that because you’re so poorly prepared for a battle of wits ? You’re a one trick “I hate unions I am an angry taxpayer” pony. My employer allows me to live wherever I want. I am sure IHOP and Wal Mart have extended you the same courtesy no ? Show my name ? If you looked up my addy on my blog you know my name you moron. Is your blog somewhere or is it just one page that says : Unions bad, taxpayers good. Are you overworked Tim ? Too bad you don’t belong to a union who’d advocate for better conditions. You’d rather be a victim and whine about someone being paid what they’ve earned. I bet that day on the garbage truck was one of your worst gigs huh ? I’ve poured concrete for union companies and pushed shopping carts for a grocery store in my younger years and what I learned from those gigs is somebody else can have them. I am very well met where I work, no need for any sympathy there. If you could do something to advance your own situation you might not be so bitter but I think you like being bitter, an underpaid overworked martyr who wants everyone to feel sorry for you. O.k. you have my sympathy, no get me 2 more creamers for my damned coffee. And stop posturing like you’re going to kick my ass before I have your basement apartment taken from you by a lawyer for menacing me. You can keep the pokemon cards but I’ll have that nintendo 64 and your Dell with the dial up modem if you think you’re going to threaten me with your junior high machismo. Stop it Tim stick to the matter at hand and quit thinking you are going to get out of the fact that you’re losing the discussion.

  16. Timothy Domst November 3, 2008 at 11:59 pm #

    You don’t have the ability to stick to any kind of discussion besides rant about how great your job is and how mine sucks so bad. I’m sure your students suffer through this defect of intelligence on your part. You would love to stop hearing about how you are cheating taxpayers out of honest effort for their money, but it’s not going to stop from me until the situation changes, because I, unlike you, pay taxes in Buffalo.

    I’m sure that driving home after work you look at the rearview mirror and its image of MY city and think about that last day when you can go back to Eden forever and listen to your sh*tty music in a marijuana-induced stupor, praying someone will consider your knee-jerk liberal idiocy, online and anywhere else, comprehensible. It won’t be, you’re too used to talking to kids much younger than you that are forced to listen as you grope around your mossy brain, falling through that mass of small words and ideas that somehow never come together properly, like a monkey in the forest that can’t make it from tree to tree.

    You’ll have that big pension and nice house and an SUV or something, though, and your kids who didn’t have to endure the same schooling that their dad inflicts on poor city kids, so you’ll be the winner when you imagine suckers like me who got to pay for it. Because that’s what it’s all about to YOU. You can be assured that I, living in Buffalo, will be preoccupied dealing with the end result of the scary great “education” you provide, a city bursting with people who can’t read or write. This end result is why the scattered, rambling attacks which you pretend to be an argument fail so miserably.

  17. rastamick61 November 4, 2008 at 12:50 am #

    Einstein the kids I teach read and write poorly because they are in special education classes. But enlightened burger flippers like you using words like “mongoloid” probably don’t understand what that means. Did you know Timmy that mongoloid is a term avoided these days kind of like the N word because it upsets people and it’s like victimizing a disabled person with a nasty label. I am glad you tried to refocus your little efforts on sounding like you have a case other than being another wide right, homerun throwback, foot in the crease buffaloser whose problems are all caused by lesser quality people who are not not as big hearted and grand as you are. Again I am to feel guilty for living where I want to live in the USA because you are envious and self pitying I should rent a first floor unit on Goodyear Ave and show what a fine citizen I am. You talking about my kids is not much better than trying to go junior high macho on me. You need to stop doing that too. Typical republican you can’t lose and argument with dignity you have to say some stupid shit about my family and now I’m a pothead too. Nice try Timbits but I don’t even drink booze for your sanctimonious info. I’ll admit your post was pretty boring and you actually tried to say something about my using small words which is very comical coming from Mr. monosyllabic tax revolt himself. Would you like some bigger words to look up ? Enjoy your preoccupation with being nothing more than a jealous martyr feeling sorry for yourself living in a city you hate surrounded by garbage men who get better benefits and crossing guards who feel sorry for you. Your act is lame and you are a fucking whiner of the worst sort. Cops. Firemean, lawyers, doctors and many of the administrators in B-lo schools live outside of Buffalo too. If you can’t afford to do so shut up about it and get some training. If you have some it must be third rate since all you do is fucking whine about what everyone else has and how little you have. Sympathy is in the webster’s between shit and syphillis if that’s what you want. I’ll enjoy the benefits of living and working where I please and I won’t come crying that someone in another district has it better than I do even though my job is 10 times harder. Did you know that Timmy ? I just don’t fucking cry abut it like you do. Oh yeah did you get your letter written to all those great citizens of Wilson who rushed in to protect their sodomizing rapist jocks yet ? You were desperate to keep them from being sued by the rape victims. Again republican point of view victimizing victims and celebrating sodomizers and their supporters. Why you support this patriarchal political view is truly baffling too since you seem to live check to check yet you support the party of millionaires. You really should give that some thought. As it stands now though you did get ONE thing right you are a sucker. Too bad nobody feels sorry for you though.

  18. rastamick61 November 4, 2008 at 12:50 am #

    oh yeah 2 SUV’s btw

  19. Timothy Domst November 4, 2008 at 5:43 pm #

    I will talk about the decision you made to be a complete hypocrite by sending your kids to school in Eden over and over again, because it’s something you have no answer for. It’s not about your kids, of course, it’s about your hypocrisy and you are trying to deflect attention from that. As for your 12-year-old-girl-like whining about how insensitive it is to use the word mongoloid, it’s more of the same deflection.

    Then there’s your fantasy about my defending those jocks on the bus. I never did, I said sue them instead of the school district. You need to lie about everything because you can’t argue and you’re desperate.

    You also say I hate Buffalo? I bought a house here, I like it here, and I like the people I work with. I hate idiots like YOU. My job doesn’t deserve a teacher’s pay, and I never said it did, I don’t really want to strive to make a lot of money in my life. I get angry, though, at unions that protect people that don’t do their job, and force the government to spend my money on their incompetence. I support paying extra to teachers who do well when rated by criteria other than their own opinion. I also want teachers who stink to be fired. Where would that leave you? I don’t care, I just want the rules changed.

    Your attempt to tell me where my voting interests lie is the real proof that you are dumb. I know what the government budgets look like in this area, the costs for employees are skyrocketing and they get worse in the future due to benefits. You are the patriarchy here, and again you are desperately trying to deflect from that. You think you can spew garbage sentences strung together in single paragraphs and I would consider them in the way I would read something written by someone with at least average intelligence?

    I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, in fact I feel sorry for you. To fumble through life as you do, in a thick fog of stupidity is REAL poverty. Go enjoy your SUVs, listen to your awful music, and write your unreadable blog, you don’t know what you’re missing and never will.

  20. rastamick61 November 6, 2008 at 12:49 am #

    I couldn’t read your last post it’s too convoluted and boring. Go read a book that will explain why you do what you do. It’s called What’s the Matter with Kansas by Thomas Frank. It explains how working dopes l got conscripted by people like Reagan and the corporate agenda to run out and vote for corporate interests that will ultimately outsource your job, cut your pay, reduce your benefits and subject you to dangerous working conditions you deserve to be protected from. Think those miners who are still entombed in Utah wish their regulations hadn’t been relaxed by Bush’s policies ? Think they didn’t deserve union protection ? Look dude my guys won last night I could care less what you think because it doesn’t hurt my lifestyle one bit. If Buffalo was less of an asshole backwards city they would charge me a commuter tax like Pittsburgh does with out of city residents. You know what else, I’d pay it too and think it was fair. But Pittsburgh does it right and Buffalo still can’t get out of its own way. Is that my fault or unions fault ? You live where you want and so will I. Send your kids to whatever charter school you want too it’s all good. I’ll send mine where I want to send them. It’s the American way and you have no business telling anyone anything about where to live or where they should go to school. It’s none of your fucking business. I wish you had the benefits I have you sound like you could use some of them. But voting like you’re management when you’re rank and file is like cutting your own throat and I seriously doubt you even realize why you do it. You’ve been had by an old Republican shell game where they preach all kinds of responsibility and values then get elected and do nothing to promote responsibility or moral values. Have Republicans reduced crime ? lowered the cost of living ? made us more safe ? created jobs ? helped us to earn more ? Yet you’re hanging from their bandwagon sniping at fellow workers like you’re one of them trying to make sure some union guy doesn’t get lasiks eye surgery because you can’t have it. Yet the corporate elite are making damned sure you’ll never get it either and you’re in complete support of their policies. One thing I do know that I’m sure you don’t know : I know who my friends are when it comes to issues like this. Keep voting for management’s side in everything and keep resenting workers who’ve earned good benefits through collective bargaining and see when you’re finally happy. I’m telling you you never will be until you stop voting against yourself. You wish I had none of what I’ve earned because you’re jealous. I wish you could enjoy the benefits of a union situation because I have done both types and I know which one is better and which one makes workers feel better about working. I’m done on this subject, you can learn to swim or keep on sinking brother. Peace.

  21. rastamick61 November 6, 2008 at 12:54 am #

    oh and you’re totally right about using the word mongoloid I was just being sensitive wasn’t I ? by all means get that word out there it could be your signature word those down’s syndrom families are probably more union slackers anyway what do I know ?

  22. Timothy Domst November 6, 2008 at 5:03 pm #

    Again you can’t think straight, the management in your case is my government, not some corporate agenda or whatever phrase you got from some blog. Free Lasiks costs too much, hardly anyone in the private sector gets that, we can’t afford it and I’m going to vote for whomever will try to cut that from your contract. It’s in my interest and trying to pretend I’m a right-wing corporate tool isn’t going to sway me because I don’t fall for transparent lies.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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

    […] money to fixing up suburban roads, calling them a quality of life issue. It was soon revealed that Collins kept a $16 million Medicaid liability off the books. In the meantime, there was no explanation why 10 months’ worth of Six Sigma implementation […]

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