Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bernardo Watch: Throwing Pebbles in the Crystal Cathedral

Interesting piece in today's Freeman about the back-and-forth between Terry Bernardo and Mike Hein. Bernardo accuses Hein of "pay-to-play" because the county executive's campaign received a $3000 contribution from an Albany law firm that is now doing county business. As I said in a previous post, this is chump change and Hein should simply return the contribution.

On the flip side, however, we have the Bernardos, who have managed to pig-out on close to $500,000 of the taxpayers' money. First, you have the $160,000 in tax breaks Skate Time 209 has received, despite the fact that it hasn't produced meaningful employment in Accord. Then you have all the crony appointments Bernardo has made, which to date have cost the taxpayers in the county ANOTHER $250,000-plus. This includes the appointment of Fawn Tantillo at $50k per year, whose only real claim to fame is that she, too, knows how to spend the county's money like a drunken sailor (see: prison), while at the same time rewarding herself with golden-parachute jobs when the voters get sick of her and send her packing. We have Frank Reggero, who has taken a few higher education courses, which somehow makes him qualified to be a budget analyst, also to the tune of $50k-plus (though Reggero, it should be noted, was removed from this position and is now essentially acting Bernardo's personal valet). The list goes on.

Having Bernardo accuse Hein of cronyism is a bit like having a Soviet Commissar lecture Lech Walesa on democracy.

(UPDATE: Typos fixed. Hat-tip to JDM.)


  1. Besides Bernardo hiring Fawn Tantillo who is one of the most outrageously "wacko" politicians I have ever had the displeasure to meet--and you ARE the company you does Skate Time 209 get tax breaks? Are they a not-for-profit? Last time I calculated it was quite a bundle to bring a family there for fun and that's only if you have the fun-ds to afford their kind of fun! Or does having some spiritual skate-time account for being a religious experience?

    1. Skate Time has a sweet PILOT agreement because the rink was supposed to provide jobs and boost the local economy. It hasn't. It won't. The county should sue the Skate Time and get our money back.

  2. In order to get businesses started or retained NYS allows for a process called Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT). These make sense because we all know it is expensive when beginning anything. A lump sum is paid instead of the full tax amount and the percentage pail increases over time for until it eventually reached 100%. You don't have to be a not-for-profit. But in return certain promises are made in the contract. Like how many jobs will be created. That is the issue here. It is a guess but it should be at least an educated guess and the real numbers should be close to the projected. Yes economic downturns come and cannot be projected 8 years into the future. But come on. That doesn't explain away only creating less than 25% of the jobs promised. And there was no was level attached to the contract. Just full or part-timne status. So come on Len, give up a little and go out and hire some new people. Or do the right thing and offer back some of the tax money.

  3. Maybe the Bernardos are counting the county jobs they filled or created