Shadows are not the only thing that obsure the view
of the Monroe County Office Building, Rochester, N.Y.
-home to the Monroe County Legislature
and many CSEA Local 828 members
The Monroe County Legislature Democratic minority recently held a news conference where they unveiled a plan to basically cut the size of the Monroe County Legislature in half. There are 29 seats and the Democratic proposal reduces that number to 15. The Republican Majority would redraw the districts based on the 2010 census.
Democrats, who hold 13 of 29 seats, pitched the idea of a 15-seat legislature which would save $500,000 per year when lawmakers’ salaries, benefits and resources are eliminated. The Dems say the change would save county taxpayers more than $1 million in the first two years of such a change.
The legislature’s total budget is $2.1 million, which the Brooks administration classifies as a “mandated expense.” Rank-and-file lawmakers earn $18,000 per year, meaning that cutting 14 legislative seats would trim $252,000 in salaries alone.
Democratic Minority Leader Harry Bronson says the proposal will bring our legislature in line with peer counties in terms of the number of constituents per legislative district. Currently there are about 25,000 people living in each district, whereas Monroe’s peer counties average slightly more than 50,000 per district. Upon voter approval in November 2010, this proposal would take effect on January 1, 2012, following the redistricting process.
Dan Quatro, a Republican legislator who lives in suburban Webster, demonstrated how woefully out of touch he his with the working families of Monroe County. In a statement to the press immediately following the Democratic caucus press conference, Quatro said, "The reason that counties in New York State are having financial difficulties aren't because of the size of their Legislatures –it's because we have a tremendous amount of mandated expenses. We spend way too much on Medicaid and we spend way too much on public employee unions."
Dan Quatro obviously hasn't learned much in the past few years. Just off a major controversy where he called a Democratic colleague "a retard" in public and refused to acknowledge he did it, Quatro put his foot in his mouth again. Why give due diligence to million dollar whacky deals to cronies when you can blame the poor, working poor and the disabled community for obfuscating all the tax dollars?
Dan Quatro is starting to parrot the national conservative talking points, blaming the economic downturn on the downtrodden, the people who work at the DMV and your neighbors who plow your roads so you can get to work on time. Rather than respond in an honest fashion to a legitimate effort to reduce County spending, Quatro seized the opportunity to bash the hard working public employees of Monroe County. There is one word for this behavior-- shameless.
This restructuring plan would no doubt upset the apple cart of the pay-to-play schemes the Republican Party has been wielding since they have been in the majority. Despite this overt snub, we look forward to continuing and developing positive relationships with County lawmakers with the hope we can address the complicated needs of our tax-paying working families.