Collins’ “Course” is Equal Parts Dictatorial and Transactional

28 Jun

Here’s a short review of Chris Collins’ first 29 months in office. Some successes, some failures. Running county government “like a [closely-held, non-public] business”.

I don’t fully understand why the Democratic “majority” hasn’t yet taken Collins to court over his repeated refusals to carry out decisions and make appropriations for which the legislature has voted. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that three of them are aligned with him, and their staffers are busy sending “let’s get her!” texts to legislators whose names happen to appear next to “Grant, Chris” in their address books.

Collins runs county government not so much like a business – because there are several kinds and constructs of businesses – but more like a petit dictatorship. The most telling part of the News’ article:

I let people picket me, chirp at me, editorialize against me, write letters about me. It doesn’t matter.

I let?!” The only thing missing there is the majestic plural. Chris Collins all but admits that he thinks he has the power to place prior restraint on press and criticism he doesn’t like.

What the Buffalo News doesn’t do in this piece is pull the trigger on the only clear conclusion to be drawn from Collins’ tenure.

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While running, he pledged to not be “chief politician”. Yet he is the most hyper-political, transactional person in county government today, cutting deals with Grassroots and Steve Pigeon in order to weaken the Democratic establishment. Cutting deals with the ECFSA to get one over on the county comptroller he so detests.

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15 Responses to “Collins’ “Course” is Equal Parts Dictatorial and Transactional”

  1. jesseInEA June 28, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    If you don’t hate Collins, the “I let” implies “I let (all that slide) and I don’t bother responding”.

    And he runs it like most businesses I’ve seen – ruthless.  When someone says “I’ll run government like a business” they aren’t talking about employee-owned cooperatives, you know. 🙂

    • Alan Bedenko June 28, 2010 at 10:55 am #

      No, but CEOs of public corporations are held to standards set by a board of directors and, more importantly, shareholders. Collins has no such experience in his business past, and it carries on into his hamhanded, dictatorial governmental skills.

      • Ethan June 28, 2010 at 11:30 am #

        No, but CEOs of public corporations are held to standards set by a board of directors and, more importantly, shareholders.

        O RLY?  BP, anyone?  Boards of directors often rubber-stamp, and shareholder have little to no real power, nor do they tend to exercise what little they have so long as the dividends get paid.

      • Millard Filmore June 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

        Private companies have boards too. And shareholders.  And CEO’s of private companies are generally held to standards set by those two entities.  You may be confusing ‘private company’ with a private company that is entirely owned and operated by the CEO in which case you’d have a point.  I don’t know if Collins’ private experience is entirely comprised of firms he wholly owned (but I doubt it is) and neither would you since it’s virtually impossible to know (since the firms are, you know, private).  

  2. samroberts June 28, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    The nerve of that bastard for trying to save some freakin money!!! Dam him!

    I thoroughly enjoy the continuous calls that Collins is weakening the Democratic party by cutting deals with so-and-so, maybe the blame should be shifted to these so-called Democrats who are in it solely for the power.

    • Alan Bedenko June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am #

      The nerve of that bastard for trying to save some freakin money!!! Dam him!

      Ours is a representative democracy, not a dictatorship. Collins is not legally free to simply disregard the will of the legislature. He can veto spending, but if overridden he doesn’t have the right to simply unilaterally refuse to implement the will of the people’s representatives.

      I thoroughly enjoy the continuous calls that Collins is weakening the Democratic party by cutting deals with so-and-so, maybe the blame should be shifted to these so-called Democrats who are in it solely for the power.

      Gee, ya think? Are you so naive or uninformed (or new to this site) to not fathom that we roundly criticize those turncoat Dems who cut deals with various and sundry enemies for short-term political gain? This piece is about Chris Collins, the supposedly apolitical politician. He may not be in it for the money or the power, but he has time and time again displayed a lack of respect or understanding for the governmental process.

      • lefty June 28, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

        Ours is a representative democracy, not a dictatorship.

        Last time I checked, ours was a republic not a representative democracy.

        Added to this, the insinuation that overriding the legislature is overriding the voice of the people is dangerous at best. The ‘legislature’ speaks for the minority of Erie County and really just the head of the monster.

      • Alan Bedenko June 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

        Well (a) I didn’t say vetoes were invalid; (b) the legislature as a body represent exactly as many people as Collins; and (c) a representative democracy is a Republican form of government for God’s sake.

      • lefty June 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

        @BP

        Point taken.

        The point I was trying to make was Collins was elected to do what was best for Erie County and is to treat Erie County as a whole.

        As for the ECL….while it does represent exactly as many people as Collins, the districts are not even close to being equal. 70% of Erie County residents live outside of the City of Buffalo. Yet, the COB has the 3rd, 6th and 7th districts that are exclusive to the COB and the 1st, 2nd, 11th that include the COB. That is not equal representation IMO.

        So are you suggesting that Collins should listen to unequal representation from the ECL? I know it is a sore subject for most but the reality is most people, by more than a 3-1 ratio, live outside of the City. I think Collins is 100% right in his acting upon what most of the county wants. After all, that is what he was elected to do.

        I mean when Legislators Whyte (6th), Marinelli (11th), Grant (7th), Miller-Williams (3rd), Mazur (8th) and Kozub (1st), who make up 5 of the 6 citycentric districts vote against the downsizing of the ECL to 11 from 15, tells the whole story.

        With the news story that both the City of Buffalo, Tonawanda and Lackawana and the Towns of Tonawanda all showing a decline in population and 2nd ring burbs showing growth, it gerrymandering of EPIC proportions to not have an ECL that is of like mind to Collins and the majority of Erie county in the future. Sadly, EPIC fail like this is not difficult for WNY.

      • Alan Bedenko June 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

        You are missing my point completely. This has nothing to do with whether Collins “listens” to “unequal representation” from the legislature. As you’re probably aware, I don’t think we need to have a legislature at all, and the CE should be a county manager – a professional, not a political hack, which is what Collins has revealed himself to be.

        Collins doesn’t have the discretion to pick and choose laws and appropriations that the leg makes with which he agrees. He is bound by law to execute them, regardless of whether he likes them or not. His sole legal remedy in the event that he disagrees with something the legislature has done is to veto it. If the veto is overridden, then he is not at liberty to just tell them all to go to hell, and to decide what laws and appropriations he will and won’t carry out.

        And this again is not a partisan issue, but a legal one. If the legislature was 80% Republican and we had a Democratic CE, I would expect the law to be carried out and followed in that case, as well.

      • lefty June 28, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

        Point taken. You are the lawyer, so I will just say my opinion that I think Collins is simply using legal loopholes to correctly protect the taxpayer at large.

        If what Collins is doing is illegal, it will come out in the courts. However, I think regardless of what happens in a court of law, Collins is winning in the court of public opinion. I think he will be reelected and be working with a much different and smaller ECL in the future.

      • samroberts June 29, 2010 at 9:57 am #

        Why did you run for legislature if you don’t think there is a need for one anyway?

  3. Mike in WNY June 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    I thought liberals pine for the sought after coalition government.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Erie County Legislature Redefines Dysfunction #ecleg (UPDATED) | WNYmedia.net - July 23, 2010

    […] Collins’ “Course” is Equal Parts Dictatorial and Transactional (wnymedia.net) […]

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

    […] began, Erie County finally settled its disputes over payments to ECMC. Soon after that, Collins conspired with the Mayor’s people and Pigeon’s people to obtain a de facto Republican majority on […]

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