April 15, 2008

School District's Attorney Benefits

It's outrageous that school districts in New York are allowing part-time lawyers access to full pension and health insurance benefits on the public dime. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo suspects it's happening in at least 180 school districts, including here in Niagara County. Wisely, he has launched a full-scale investigation that involves issuing subpoenas to more than 90 lawyers.

Because where there's smoke, there's usually fire, Cuomo must not limit his investigation to school districts. He should also look closely at the benefits that towns and villages are extending to their part-time workers. It's simply ludicrous, particularly at a time of budget shortfalls, layoffs and talk of recession, that elected officials are doling out such lavish benefits, but it's hardly surprising.

Cuomo's probe of part-timers included one lawyer who worked for seven school districts and BOCES in one year, and received $700,000 in pension benefits.

Meantime, Robert Koegel, head of the New York Bar Association's municipal law section, insists that giving part-time lawyers state pensions and health benefits is "completely acceptable." Oh yeah? That type of entitlement attitude is exactly the problem.

Along with Cuomo, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is also busy tackling this issue. He is using newly adopted legislation that requires local governments and school districts to better classify who qualifies as an employee.

As DiNapoli pointed out, "pensions are for employees." They should not be used as an extra meal ticket for well-off lawyers.

7 comments:

Pete M said...

I can't wait to see what this investigation shows. Talk about pigs at the trough. But again, we're talking about school districts, so there will be no one questioning it. Why not? Because it's about the kids!!! LOLOL

Anonymous said...

It is that sense of entitlement that makes this so offensive. A lawyer working for a school district is a politically connected lawyer who is probably not struggling to make ends meet. Ahhhh, who cares, it's just a few more million in taxpayer dollars being pissed away. No need to get all in a tizzy.

Anonymous said...

But Hobbes you voted to hire 7 conflict lawyers for the county and guess what you still had to used outside lawyers because of conflicts. I guess as long as they don't take away your bennies even though you only work 15 hours a week your happy.

Fawn Leibowitz said...

The Dems still get their talking points in I see. Funny that school districts are under investigation for possible fraudulent practices, but all you have is Rivera-speak. Sad, albeit it predictable.

Anonymous said...

fawn- who gave you these talking points?

Fawn Leibowitz said...

What talking points? About lawyers continuing to make millions at our expense? Those talking points?

Anonymous said...

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has removed members of one of the Capital Region's most prominent education-related law firms from the state retirement system after investigators from his office found that lawyers there had been listed as working 1,157 days when they actually worked 196 days.